Friends United is pleased to have helped fund the following important diabetes research at these prestigious institutions.
City of Hope Diabetes Research Center, Duarte, CA
Ongoing projects at the Diabetes Research Center focus on halting, reversing, and preventing the autoimmune processes responsible for type 1 diabetes through several state-of-the-art approaches. The work of the Immune Modulation Program is central to the mission of curing type 1 diabetes and will impact forward progress in both the Cell Therapy Program and the Renewable Cell Source (Stem Cell) Program. Read more
Kovler Diabetes Center, University of Chicago
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center, a national leader in comprehensive diabetes care and research, is committed to finding new therapies for diabetes that may someday even lead to a cure for the disease. They are currently developing a promising new approach with the goal of discovering how stem cells grown from adults can be taught to make insulin and used to better understand how to treat diabetes. The technical term for these cells is induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and there is no doubt they can help teach researchers how the beta cells that secret insulin in the body work. These adult stem cells are made from skin biopsies of adults or children (not human embryos). With the current knowledge of genetic engineering, these skin cells can be turned into the iPSC stem cells that are capable of becoming almost any function-specific cell in the body. The challenge is discovering how to do it efficiently, get the process scaled up, and deal with potential downsides including rejection by the body's immune system. Read more
Yogish C. Kudva, MBBS, is conducting "A Multiple-center, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Parallel Study to Assess the Tolerability, Safety, and Efficacy of INGAP Peptide Given Subcutaneously as Injections t.i.d. for 12 Weeks in Adult Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus." This human clinical trial will test the first drug capable of regenerating insulin producing cells in the pancreas of long term type 1 diabetics. Twenty-seven patients will be enrolled in three different groups. One group will get 100 mg of the drug three times a day for 12 weeks. A second group will get twice the dose on the same schedule. The third group will receive a placebo on the same schedule. At the end of the testing period, a variety of blood and other tests will confirm whether the drug helped create new insulin-producing cells.
Harvard University Medical School
Led by Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, "A Pre-clinical Screening Program to Establish New Indications in Autoimmunity for Existing Generic Drugs" seeks to identify generic drugs to treat type I diabetes and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's, and MS. The research team has already discovered one generic drug that destroys some of the immune cells that attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. They have screened over 10,000 additional drugs and other compounds and have identified a group that appear to destroy other autoimmune cells. These drugs will now undergo more rigorous testing to move them toward the clinic.
Harvard University Medical School
"BCG Human Clinical Trial" (Denise Faustman, MD, PhD) is the first human clinical trial using a repurposed generic drug (BCG) to kill immune cells that auto-destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Four groups of patients provided weekly blood samples. One group received BCG treatment at weeks 4 and 8. Other groups served as controls. The object of this research is to determine if the researchers can accurately evaluate reductions in the immune cells that destroy the pancreas. This Phase I portion of the project is ahead of schedule and results should be available in the first quarter of 2010. Phase II fundraising is under way and over $2.3M has been raised to date.
The Diabetes Institutes for Immunology and Transplantation
University of Minnesota
The DIIT is led by David E. R. Sutherland, M.D., and Bernhard J. Hering, M.D. The DIIT is a world-renowned pioneer and leader in pancreas and islet cell transplantation. Friends United has helped this team by purchasing the Elispot Analyzer, used for measuring a patient's immune system response to transplanted cells. This helps to predict the outcome and success of the transplanted cells. We have also contributed to the support of a tissue procurement fellow, as well as necessary laboratory equipment. View Website
Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute
Alberto Hayek, M.D., is the leader of the islet cell isolation and implantation program. Friends United has helped with laboratory support for this important study. View Website
Diabetes Research Institute
University of Miami
Camillo Ricordi, M.D., is the head of the islet cell transplantation program. Friends United helped to purchase the Zeiss Axiovert 200 microscope, the best in its class. This microscope will be used not only for routine cell cultures and tissue observation, but also to study and fine-tune the developmental fate of a variety of cells. This instrument will help to achieve their goal of establishing an unlimited source of insulin-producing cells for islet transplantation. View Website
Islet Transplant Program
University of Illinois at Chicago
Cristiana Rostellini, M.D., is the director. Friends United research dollars have helped to support this new local islet transplant program. View Website
The Leonard R. Strelitz Diabetes Institutes
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Aaron I. Vinik, M.D., is pioneering research toward a cure for diabetes through islet cell regeneration. His discovery of INGAP, a protein that results in islet regeneration, is on the forefront of a cure. Dr. Vinik is also involved in stem cell research in conjunction with INGAP. Friends United has helped to purchase a microscope unit, as well as an electroportation unit to help define agents that will reprogram embroynic and adult stem cells into mature functioning islets. View Website
Columbia University Medical Center in New York
Kevan C. Herold, M.D., is the associate professor of clinical medicine in juvenile diabetes research. His approach involves bringing new developments in immunology and cell biology to patients for treatment of type I diabetes. He is studying regrowth and repopulation of beta cells following immunotherapy. Dr. Herold's study looks at drug combinations of anti-CD3 antibody and Exendin 4. This study has shown that the drug combination works better together than alone at stimulating beta cell proliferation. Friends United has contributed funds to help purchase equipment and supplies needed for this very important study. View Website