TREO Foundation Announces 2023 ASMBS Research Grants

Treo Foundation

Treo Foundation

2023 Grant Awardees

2023 Grant Awardees

Studies on Breast Cancer Prevention through Bariatric Surgery and Post-Operative Use of GLP-1 Agonists Among Top Grants.

The TREO Foundation remains committed to supporting critical research that provides new insights into the treatment of obesity and related diseases.”

— Carl Pesta, DO FASMBS, President, TREO Foundation

NEWBERRY,, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, September 21, 2023 / — TREO Foundation, formerly the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Foundation, announced today it has awarded two research grants of $25,000 for one study on the use of a popular new class of obesity drugs before and after bariatric surgery and the second on the ability of bariatric surgery to prevent breast cancer.

“The TREO Foundation remains committed to supporting critical research that provides new insights into the treatment of obesity and related diseases,” said Carl Pesta, DO FASMBS, President, TREO Foundation. “Prevention of obesity-related cancers through bariatric surgery and the use of the new glucagon-like peptide-1(GLP-1) agonists alone or in combination with bariatric surgery are two of the hottest areas in research today. We are pleased to help advance this important work for the benefit of patients.”

After a review of more than a dozen grant requests by the ASMBS Research Committee, TREO, which stands for Treatment, Research, and Education to end Obesity, awarded $25,000 ASMBS Research Grants for each of the following studies based on study quality, importance, feasibility and patient impact.

Biometabolic Impact of Continuation of GLP-1 Agonists Following Bariatric Surgery: A Randomized Control Trial – Researchers Andrew Wheeler, MD and Milot Thaqi, MD, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Spatial Transcriptomics Reveals Oncoprotective Effect of Bariatric Surgery Against Breast Cancer – Researchers Thomas Shin, MD, PhD and Eric G. Sheu, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Ali Tavakkoli, MD, Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“The grant will provide foundational support for the exploration of how surgical treatment of obesity has metabolic effects that extend beyond the gastrointestinal tract to other parts of the body including breast tissue, eventually opening up opportunities to identify novel therapeutic targets for both obesity and breast cancer,” said grant recipient Thomas Shin, MD, PhD, MIS/Bariatrics Clinical Fellow, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Obesity weakens the body’s immune system, causes chronic inflammation, and increases the risk for other diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, certain cancers, and most recently, severe outcomes from COVID-19. The obesity rate in the U.S. stands at 42.4%, an all-time high, with no signs of slowing.

By 2030, half the population is on track to have obesity and nearly 1 in 4 will have severe obesity. Concerns over the link between obesity and severe outcomes from COVID-19 triggered millions of Americans to consider methods of weight loss never previously contemplated. According to the ASMBS Obesity in America Survey II released earlier this year and published in SOARD, more than 6.4 million people thought about having metabolic and bariatric surgery or taking obesity medications for the first time ever. TREO provided funding for the survey conducted in association with ASMBS and the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. The increased interest in bariatric surgery and drug therapy may result in more people getting treated for obesity, which remains significantly undertreated as a disease. Only about 1% of the surgically eligible population undergo metabolic and bariatric surgery in any given year and a slightly higher number take obesity medications — 1% to 3%.

TREO also sponsored the ASMBS International Grant Program for studies presented at the 2023 ASMBS Annual Scientific Meeting. Award recipients were Zvi H. Perry, MD, Ph.D. from Israel, for the study, “Association Between Bariatric Surgery and Malignancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Trends and Conclusions, and Yuntao Nie, MD from China, for the study “Nomogram for Predicting Anemia 1 Year After Bariatric Surgery in Chinese Patients with Obesity.” Each award recipient received a $1,500 grant.

Since 2004, TREO has sponsored critical research on obesity and metabolic and bariatric surgery. Previous grant recipients have studied the impact of bariatric surgery on asthma, obesity-induced heart failure, and diabetes remission, among other topics. In its 25 years, the Foundation has raised over $2 million for research and other activities.

“Research continues to mount demonstrating the power of metabolic and bariatric surgery to treat obesity and resolve or improve many related diseases yet utilization remains low,” said Michael Votta, Executive Director, TREO Foundation. “Our hope at TREO is that clinical practice catches up to scientific consensus so that more may benefit from this transformational treatment.”

About TREO Foundation

The mission of TREO Foundation is to raise funds for conducting research and education, increasing public and scientific awareness and understanding, and improving access to quality care and treatment of obesity and severe obesity. TREO shares the vision of the ASMBS to improve public health and well-being by lessening the burden of the disease of obesity and related diseases throughout the world. For more information or to find out how you can contribute to ending obesity, visit TREO Foundation.

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