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Meet DRIF's New Chairman and More

by Diabetes Research Institute on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 10:28 am on T1 Diabetes Cure - Global Headquarters and Diabetes Research Institute Facebook pages.

Happy Thursday, everyone! Today we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce our new DRI Foundation Chairman Harold Doran, a banking industry veteran whose son, Will, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age two.  He’s been involved with the DRI for almost a decade and we’re very fortunate to have him serve in this role. You can “meet” Harold in a video here:

As you know, scientific collaboration is key to accelerating research progress and is a cornerstone of the DRI’s research philosophy. As you may have read on our website, the DRI launched the Diabetes Research Institute Federation several years ago as a means of collaborating with other leading centers around the world to focus the finest minds on finding a cure for diabetes.

As part of this collaboration, DRI researchers and others travel to Federation partners for presentations and other meetings where they share information and exchange knowledge. DRI’s scientific director, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, will be traveling to Rome to present, “Cellular Therapies, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Strategies For Treatment Of Diabetes,” at meetings in Rome.

In his talk, Dr. Ricordi will describe how stem cells, regenerative medicine and other cellular therapies could offer alternative or complementary approaches to current treatments for diabetes.  Pancreatic islet transplantation has progressed over the last decade with some patients maintaining insulin independence for more than 5 years.  Recent data indicate that using specific types of immunosuppression at the time of transplantation has led to islet graft survival rates comparable to pancreas transplants alone.  However, the objective of cell replacement and regenerative strategies is to restore natural insulin production without the use of these powerful drugs.

The use of life-long immunosuppression and the related side effects is, quite simply, unacceptable, as this would continue to limit the potential applicability of these procedures only to patients with the most severe form of type 1 diabetes (i.e., severe hypoglycemic unawareness).

Novel strategies involving a short course of local, low-dose drugs, the use of conformal/nano-scale coatings to protect islets and other cells, as well as approaches to establish immune tolerance, are underway at the DRI and collaborating centers.  The goal of all of these efforts is to be able to restore natural jnsulin production to all patients with insulin requiring diabetes. 
During this next phase of research advancements, it's also imperative to develop an unlimited source of healthy insulin-producing cells.  We are developing and testing new methods to evaluate both embryonic and adult cells. Methods to reprogram or differentiate cells to take on a new function as insulin producing cells  
In addition, the Missouri Cures Education Foundation is welcoming Dr. Ricordi to St. Louis on September 29th for a special presentation on his work in cell transplantation and diabetes research. You can learn more at and also view other links to information.



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