A World Leader in Diabetes Cure-Focused Research
The Diabetes Research Institute leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks.
Since its inception, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes, pioneering many of the techniques used in diabetes centers around the world. Having already shown that diabetes can be reversed through islet transplantation, the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes by developing the DRI BioHub,a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas, containing thousands of insulin-producing cells that sense blood sugar and release the precise amount of insulin needed, in real time.
The DRI has always been and continues to be a strong voice for translational research, ensuring that promising findings in the lab are applied to patients in the fastest, safest and most efficient way possible. This long-standing philosophy drives its collaborative, fast-track approach to advancing cutting-edge disciplines that have a real potential to deliver a cure, like tissue engineering, nanotechnology, immune-modulation, biomaterials, cellular reprogramming, and regenerative medicine, among others. Its singular focus on a cure, along with the integration of technology and medicine, is what makes the DRI unique and distinguishes its research efforts from all others.
In contrast to the historically competitive world of medical research, the DRI is a unifier and a collaborator, bringing together scientists and centers to accelerate progress and shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a cure. Its multidisciplinary teams include researchers, engineers and clinicians, as well as a host of international partners, all working together to cure those now living with diabetes.
Pioneering New Therapies to Restore Insulin Production
The Institute is an innovator in several research areas, however its principal focus is the biological replacement of natural insulin function to restore blood sugar control. DRI scientists have already shown that insulin independence can be achieved through islet cell transplantation. The DRI BioHub is platform for addressing the major challenges that have limited this therapy to only the most severe cases of diabetes:
Site – creating an optimal environment to house and protect insulin-producing cells by mimicking the native pancreas.
Sustainability – retraining the immune system to prevent the rejection of donor tissue and reversing the autoimmune attack which caused the onset of diabetes.
Supply – identifying, developing and/or regenerating a limitless supply of cells that can sense blood glucose levels and produce insulin.
The Hub of a Global Research Alliance
The DRI has an impressive track record of scientific collaboration and its most far-reaching initiative to date is the Diabetes Research Institute Federation. Researchers from more than 20 medical centers from all corners of the world have agreed to form a one-of-a-kind alliance. This international network of collaborators share knowledge, pool expertise in specific research areas, and apply a diverse set of skills to the eradication of diabetes. The DRI leads this expanding effort with an underlying belief that the best way to make transformative discoveries - in the shortest amount of time – is to work together towards a cure.
The Best Work, The Best People, The Shortest Path
The Institute’s open-door philosophy provides opportunities for scientists and biomedical companies around the world to develop and quickly test their most promising findings. Much of this work begins in the DRI’s Dr. Denise R. and Thomas D. Stern Fast Track Center for Testing, where investigators can access all three phases of research – basic (in the lab), pre-clinical (study models), and clinical (patient studies) – at the Institute and through its collaborating centers. This translational approach enables researchers to take potential new therapies begun in the lab and further develop these techniques to benefit those with diabetes.
For more than 40 consecutive years, DRI scientists have been awarded competitive federal and state grants in the field of diabetes. The resulting discoveries have been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and many of the DRI’s innovations are in current use at diabetes centers worldwide. As leaders in their respective fields, the Institute’s faculty serves on numerous national and international committees and provides leadership on many scientific review panels and associations.
The Strength of Private Funding
While competitive research grants are the mainstay of world-class research institutes, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation provides the DRI with critical funding to gather data that is often a prerequisite for larger grants. This funding stream is at the heart of DRI’s ability to innovate and make quantum leaps in the race for a cure. Supported by private philanthropy, the DRI Foundation also fills the gaps in many stages of the research process for which there is little federal funding, or for areas in which federal funding falls short of actual need. Driven by its core mission, the DRI Foundation’s support also ensures the body of work conducted at the DRI remains cure-focused and will ultimately benefit those with diabetes.
A Community Resource
The DRI is a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, providing informative education and training programs for many types of health care professionals and industry representatives. For patients with diabetes and their families, the DRI’s Kosow Diabetes Treatment Center offers the highest standards of health care delivery, ongoing management and education support, and numerous clinical research possibilities.
The Best Hope for a Cure
The Diabetes Research Institute was created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. With an aggressive approach to curing those living with diabetes, along with its unique spirit of collaboration and notable accomplishments, the DRI is leading the international effort to eradicate this disease. For the millions of people affected by diabetes, the DRI is the best hope for a cure.