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US companies celebrate 25-year commitment to curing type 1 diabetes

A 25-year relationship between two companies committed to curing type 1 diabetes is being celebrated through Diabetes Awareness Month.

In 1994, the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) teamed up with Biorep Technologies Inc, a Miami-based company that manufactures critical research equipment.

The partnership began when Biorep founder Ramon Poo became involved with the DRI after his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three.

At the time he met a budding young scientist called Dr Camillo Ricordi, who eventually went on to become the current DRI director.

Together, they embarked upon their first project, which saw them focus on a device, called the Ricordi Chamber, that helps make islet cell transplantation possible.

Dr Ricordi said: “We originally built the Ricordi Chamber from scratch. We tried to find companies interested in helping us but were unable to find anyone that was willing to produce it. It was thanks to Ramon Poo that we started producing the first chambers with state-of-the-art technology.”

The popularity of the technology grew quickly and became a chosen piece of equipment for doctors working in islet transplantation.

Biorep’s Managing Director Felipe Echeverri said: “We get a lot of calls from different universities and research centres around the world, and we ship the technologies developed at the DRI to over 35 countries now.”

The aim of the DRI is to develop a biological type 1 diabetes cure by restoring natural insulin production.

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