Diabetes foundations team up to improve islet transplantation research

The Foundation for Diabetes Research (FDR) is providing $250,000 to support the American Diabetes Research Foundation’s islet transplantation research.
Islet transplantation is treatment for type 1 diabetes that involves transplanting living islet cells – the cells within the pancreas that include the insulin-producing beta cells – into patients.
These islet cells replace the destroyed beta cells that characterises type 1 diabetes, and the aim of treatment is for patients to achieve good control of blood glucose. However, the transplantation does not prevent the immune system in type 1 diabetes from attacking these new beta cells. Patients currently have to take drugs which suppress the immune system.
The FDR’s grant will support research on protecting islets during and after transplantation and aim to limit complications associated with type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Qizhi Tang, PhD, associate professor of surgery, University of California, will conduct this research and evaluate how islet survival can be improved following transplantation.
Tang, the lead researcher for the collaboratively supported grant, observed that 80 per cent of islets die within days of transplantation. She hopes for type 1 patients to have better blood glucose control following transplantation without the need for insulin to be administered.
Gary Meininger, MD, chair of the Foundation for Diabetes Research Grant Committee, said: “Our organization is excited to collaborate with the American Diabetes Association. It is rewarding when our foundation’s mission to advance research towards a cure for type 1 diabetes is amplified through such a unified effort.”

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