Faculty Directory

Eric I. Felner, MD, MSCR

Eric I. Felner, MD, MSCR headshot

Professor
Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes
Department of Pediatrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Director - Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship Program

Adjunct Associate Professor-Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

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PHONE: 404-778-2400

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PubMed

Biography

Education/Training

  • Medical Degree: Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Masters Degree: Master of Science in Clinical Research, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Residency: Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

  • Fellowship: Pediatric Endocrinology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

  • Certification: American Board of Pediatrics, National Board of Medical Examiners, Pediatric Endocrinology

Professional/Scientific Societies

  • American Diabetes Association
  • Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society
  • The Endocrine Society
  • Research

Privileges

  • Children’s at Egleston
  • Children’s at Hughes Spalding

Research

Dr. Felner has three areas of research emphasis, all related to the prevention and/or treatment of diabetes.  The first focus involves work with Mark Prausnitz (Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology) and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study the use of microneedles as a mode of insulin delivery in children with Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Felner has effectively delivered insulin, with less pain, and a more rapid onset of effect in the initial human studies. He is now studying a larger group of patients in both bolus and basal insulin delivery through the microneedles, comparing this to the conventional insulin pump catheter delivery. Dr. Felner is the PI for this study supported by the Thrasher organization. 

Dr. Felner is also working with Dr. Mark Rigby (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care, Emory University) and colleagues to study the effects of preventing the progression of Type 1 diabetes and preserving beta cell function. Initial funding was provided for Efalizumab (agent blocking LFA-1 signaling), but with the concern for side effects, the drug and study has been discontinued. Drs. Felner and Rigby have now started work on a very similar drug, Alefacept, which has a clean safety profile and similar to Efalizumab, is a human monoclonal antibody to LFA-1, which can safely mitigate the T-cell-mediated immune process responsible for beta cell destruction as a cause of Type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Felner and his research team joined the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), a multi-center NIH-supported study group, whose mission is to prevent the progression of Type 1 diabetes. Currently, through ITN, Dr. Felner and Dr. Rigby are the co-PIs on 3 drug studies - Antithymocyte Globulin (ATG) and Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, and Alefecept (for which Dr. Rigby is leading at the national level) for preserving beta-cell function in those with new onset Type 1 diabetes. With our proven ability to effectively screen and study so many subjects in a short time frame, we have also been asked to study two pharmaceutical agents (Tolerex and Stelera)  undergoing Phase 3 trials in an effort to slow the progression of the autoimmune destruction of islet cells.

Finally, Dr. Felner has been working with Dr. Guillermo Umpierrez (Emory University, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology) to study the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of insulin production and delivery in those children diagnosed with ketosis-prone diabetes mellitus.

Current Research Support:

Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I. /Mark Rigby, MD, PhD - P.I.
ITN, Multi-Center Study, Funding $800,000              
Effect of Alpha-1-Antitrypsin on Preserving Beta-cell Function in New onset Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
12/31/10-12/30/13


Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I./Mark Rigby, MD, PhD - P.I.
DEFEND Trial - Tolerex, Funding $500,000               
Effect of Otelixizumab on Preserving Beta-cell Function in New onset Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
12/01/10-11/30/14

Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I./Mark Rigby, MD, PhD - P.I.
ITN, Multi-Center Study, Funding $800,000              
Effect of Antithymocyte Globulin on Preserving Beta-cell Function in New onset Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
09/01/09-8/31/12

Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I./Tanicia Daley, MD, MPH (Endocrine Fellow)
Genentech Center for Clinical Research in Endocrinology (Mentored Fellow Grant)
Clinical Research Grant, $100,000    
Insulin-Coated Microneedles for Bolus Insulin Delivery to Diabetic Rats
Grant Awarded: 03/01/2010 - 02/28/2012

Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I.
Thrasher Research Fund– Clinical Research Award, $192,000                    
Transdermal Delivery of Insulin through Microneedles in children with Type 1 Diabetes
Grant Awarded: 09/01/2008 - 08/31/2011

Eric Felner, MD, MSCR – P.I. /Mark Rigby, MD, PhD - P.I.
ITN, Multi-Center Study, Funding $800,000              
Effect of Alefecept on Preserving Beta-cell Function in New onset Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
02/01/11-01/31/13

 

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