US facility aims to cure type 1 diabetes within six years

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 19 Jan 2017
US facility aims to cure type 1 diabetes within six years
A diabetes research facility in the US has set the goal of curing type 1 diabetes within six years.

The City of Hope's Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute, based in California, is aiming to cure type 1 diabetes using $50 million (£40m) of funding from the Wanek family, who owns Ashley Furniture Industries, the world's largest home furniture manufacturer.

City of Hope will be collaborating with the Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes on the six-year project, using an integrated approach to curing type 1 diabetes. These techniques include:
  • Immunotherapy: Unlocking the immune system's role within diabetes and how stem cell-based therapies could reverse the immune attack on pancreatic beta cells
  • Beta cell transplantation: Improving ways of boosting beta cells and encouraging their long-term survival following transplantation
  • Preventing diabetes complications: Intervening at a genetic level to reverse complications and predict their development
Dr Bart Roep, director of City of Hope's research team, says that the key to curing type 1 diabetes will be to understand what causes it to develop. From there, research can begin on treatments, which could vary from person to person.

"[It's] something we call personalised medicine or precision medicine, which is very much in vogue in cancer. That means we need to understand where patients differ and then tailor the immune therapies to their specific needs," said Roep.

Robert W. Stone, president and chief executive officer at City of Hope, added: "City of Hope is best positioned to take on this challenge. This is thanks to our 40-year institutional legacy of pioneering treatment and research advances in diabetes."

City of Hope is an independent research and treatment centre for diabetes, cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It was the first diabetes facility to engineer synthetic human insulin in 1978, courtesy of Arthur D Riggs, PhD.

"City of Hope scientists' research has revolutionized the understanding and treatment of diabetes," said Todd Wanek, chief executive officer of Ashley Furniture. "It continues today as physicians and scientists gain systemic understanding of diabetes as a complex, multifaceted disease."
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