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DRI & Global Collaborators Build Upon Revolutionary Technique

by Diabetes Research Institute on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 9:51am on T1 Diabetes Cure - Global Headquarters and Diabetes Research Institute Facebook pages.

Good morning and happy Thursday. :)

 Following last week's announcement that three DRI research studies were featured on the covers of three prestigious medical journals, another pioneering study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Diabetes Research Institute investigators teamed up with scientists from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and from the Rolf Luft Research Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, to conduct a study that builds on their earlier work using the "living window."  It establishes the versatility of this innovative model, not only to study islet physiology, but also to study and characterize immune responses in unprecedented detail.

Using a highly sophisticated multi-laser microscope, researchers were able to observe transplanted islets within a "chamber" of a mouse eye and follow the same islets in the same mouse over extended periods of time. In their previous research published in Nature Medicine in 2008, the group was able to see how islets developed nerve and blood supply. In this study, our researchers, for the first time, were able to observe – in real time – the immune responses against transplanted islets, showing how immune cells attack, infiltrate, and reject the transplanted insulin-producing cells. The team was also able to identify specific subsets of immune cells involved in islet rejection and track their unusual movement patterns.

Based on this work, we now are studying autoimmune responses against islets in animal models with type 1 diabetes. We also have the ability to evaluate existing and new anti-rejection drugs given locally to see how effective they are at preventing immune rejection with minimal or no systemic side effects.

The study, “High-resolution, noninvasive longitudinal live imaging of immune responses,” was led by Midhat H. Abdulreda, Ph.D., and Gaetano Faleo, Ph.D., in the laboratories of professors Per-Olof Berggren, Ph.D., and Antonello Pileggi, M.D., Ph.D., at the DRI, in collaboration with professors Alejandro Caicedo, Ph.D., and Victor L. Perez, M.D., from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. This study is a true representation of the collaborative efforts of the different groups within the DRI and Karolinska Institutet.

To read the paper, visit

You can also learn more about the study published in 2008 here:



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