Scientists in the USA have received a multi-million dollar grant to help determine the role our genes play in the development of type 1 diabetes and edge closer to finding a cure for the autoimmune disease.
The new $4.3 million (£2.7m) fund from the National Institutes of Health will be used by research teams from Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Maso, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and University of Virginia in order to gain a better understanding of ‘the genetic causes of type 1 diabetes’.
“This is fundamental to being able to predict disease and develop interventions (therapies) that can treat, cure and we hope prevent Type 1 diabetes,” said Jane Buckner, MD, Principal Investigator of the study and Associate Director of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.
“These studies will not only lead to understanding how an individual gene may lead to Type 1 diabetes, but it will also identify immunologic pathways that are involved in the disease. These pathways can then be targeted for diagnosis and therapy.”
Working alongside Buckner on the research project are David Rawlings, MD, director of the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Patrick Concanno, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at University of Virginia.
The three investigators will combine their expertise in three different areas of research – genetics, disease models and human studies – to “tackle the same questions using different tools”.
Buckner added: “By using this method and sharing our results in real time, we will more quickly determine the key components that cause Type 1 diabetes and the best strategies for therapy.”

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