Lisa J. States, MD, a pediatric radiologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), with additional expertise in nuclear medicine, has been awarded the 2018 Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI) Be My Sugar Award for Medical Excellence. Dr. States accepted the award at the fifth annual Sugar Soiree in New York on Nov. 17, 2018. This honor was based on her work on the FDOPA PET/CT study, which has been integral to the cure for congenital hyperinsulinism (HI) that many children have received through life-changing surgery.
HI occurs when the insulin cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, secrete too much insulin. Excess insulin causes low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which, if left untreated, can lead to seizures, brain damage and possibly death. The Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center at CHOP offers evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for children with congenital hyperinsulinism (HI). The center cares for an estimated 80 percent of children in the U.S. who require surgery for HI.
“Having the opportunity to award Dr. States is a true honor,” said Julie Raskin, Executive Director of CHI. “Her role as a radiologist is so important, and as a parent of a child with HI, I am grateful for the contributions she has made to help those living with this condition.”
In recent years, researchers have uncovered several types of congenital HI, but the two most common are diffuse HI (all beta cells in the pancreas are affected, usually requiring removal of 98 percent of the pancreas), and focal HI (a small area of the pancreas is affected and surgery is often performed to remove a small area of affected cells, leaving most of the normal pancreas behind and potentially curing the disease).
Dr. States has played a key role in studying the effectiveness of 18F-L-Fluoro-DOPA (F-DOPA), a radioactive tracer drug that is used in PET scans to capture images of the pancreas. By highlighting areas of the pancreas that overproduce insulin, researchers are able to use F-DOPA to diagnose HI in newborns and detect and localize the focal form of the disease.
The distinction is critical, and Dr. States’ role as a radiologist is crucial in determining the proper course of care. F-DOPA is less invasive and more accurate than other methods in diagnosing patients, which has led to improved surgical outcomes. Additionally, Dr. States routinely collaborates with a team of pediatric endocrinologists, surgeons, pathologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and researchers who work closely together to provide a full spectrum of services.
“Dr. States is an integral part of our team and fully deserves this award,” said Diva De León-Crutchlow, MD, Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at CHOP and Director of the hospital’s Congenital Hyperinsulinism Center. “She has made significant scientific breakthroughs, particularly in treating focal HI patients, that have lasting impacts on their overall health. I’m extremely grateful for her expertise and dedication to providing the best care possible.”
It is the mission of CHI to advocate, educate and provide resources to children affected with HI.
Past CHOP recipients of this award have included Charles A. Stanley, MD, founder of the CHOP’s HI Center, Dr. De León-Crutchlow, and N. Scott Adzick, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief.