Major grants support immunology, transplant and diabetes research at the University of Chicago

At a campus press briefing on October 6, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced two major, closely related, multi-year grants to research teams headquartered at the University of Chicago.

The JDF has awarded $7.5 million over a five-year period to establish the JDF Center for Islet Transplantation at the University of Chicago/University of Minnesota. The NIAID has launched a seven-year, $144-million initiative, involving nearly 40 research institutions to be known as the Collaborative Network for Clinical Research on Immune Tolerance.

Both projects will be directed by Jeffrey Bluestone, Ph.D., the Daniel K. Ludwig Professor of Pathology, Chairman of the Committee on Immunology and Director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago.

The JDF Center for Islet Transplantation, made possible by generous support from the McDonough Family Foundation in Chicago, will advance the use of transplants of insulin-producing pancreatic islets as a cure for diabetes. It will focus on finding new ways to prevent the body from rejecting islet transplants without causing dangerous side effects.

The Collaborative Network will concentrate on developing and testing new ways to induce immune tolerance by selectively modulating the immune system to inhibit harmful responses yet keep protective ones intact. This strategy promises to improve the success of transplants as well as treatments for autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which destroy the body's own cells.

"These are two vitally important, far-reaching and daring projects and we are pleased and honored that both will be based at the University of Chicago," said Glenn Steele, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Division of the Bio

Contact: John Easton
University of Chicago Medical Center

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