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Biotech breakthrough in islet cell replacement for type 1 diabetes

Northwestern University has received a major grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to advance technologies in the field of islet cell replacement for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Principal investigator on the $1.5 million JDRF program project is Dixon B. Kaufman, M.D., professor and vice chair of research in the department of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The grant represents a unique multidisciplinary initiative to enhance survival of transplanted islet cells in patients with type 1 diabetes, linking Northwestern University researchers in transplant surgery, endocrinology, materials science and engineering, chemical and biological engineering and chemistry.

The grant will complement other research in Kaufman's National Institutes of Health-funded clinical islet cell transplant program that will serve as the foundation for testing novel sources of insulin-secreting islet calls and new bioactive platforms on which the cells can be delivered. Design and development of these novel bioactive scaffolds will be conducted in collaboration with scientists in the Northwestern University Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine.

"We're very pleased to receive this grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation because it recognizes the importance of the interdisciplinary and translational research that is being done at Northwestern," said University President Henry S. Bienen. "By collaborating across disciplines, our outstanding faculty researchers are able to make important new discoveries in medical research and translate those into patient care much more quickly."

More than 1.3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, and each year over 13,000 children are diagnosed with the disease.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys islet cells, which produce insulin, the hormone that enables the body to use sugar for fuel. The goal of
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Contact: Elizabeth Crown
e-crown@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
14-Oct-2004


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