JDRF, the type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and advocacy group, has long been pursuing a cure for type 1 diabetes, but in recent years it has branched out to fund research on prevention and wearable technology. Now, the group looks poised to double down on its quest for a cure, launching a new JDRF Northern California Center of Excellence with a mission to “accelerate high-impact research” toward that goal.
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Announced in a JDRF press release earlier this month, the new center will help coordinate research projects at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) — two of the leading institutions for medical research in the country. The focus of the center will be “delivering first-generation cures for T1D in areas with the potential for significant breakthroughs,” including the interaction of immune cells with insulin-producing beta cells, generating beta cells from stem cells, and techniques to transplant insulin-producing cells without the need for immunosuppression.
JDRF hopes that its new concept of Centers of Excellence, involving partnerships with major research institutions, will allow for stable funding of key projects at a time when advances in type 1 diabetes research are accelerating. It also hopes to promote collaboration among the partnering institutions. Each participating institution will initially receive funding for five years, with a review and evaluation after three years to confirm that the partnership is achieving its aims.
The new center “will allow my colleagues and me to accelerate our efforts” toward a potential cure, says Matthias Hebrok, PhD, director of the Diabetes Center at UCSF and co-leader of the new center. “We are focused on generating new insights into the complex interactions between the immune system and … the insulin producing beta cells that are destroyed in people with T1D, and on translating these findings into creating novel therapies to improve the lives of patients and their families as soon as possible.”
A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree in government from Harvard University. He writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.