Since our inception in 1999, the Foundation for Diabetes Research (FDR) has raised over $5 million to support cutting-edge diabetes research. FDR is currently funding 2 large, multi-year grants from top diabetes researchers whose work may lead to future advances and therapies for type 1 diabetes. These grants include funding (1) an insulinoma biorepository, which is a frozen tissue bank of rare, often benign tumors of pancreatic beta cells which overproduce insulin (Dr Andy Stewart, Mt Sinai Hospital, NYC), and (2) the study of how to protect and improve the survival of transplanted beta cells (Dr Qizhi Tang, University of California at San Francisco; funding in partnership with the American Diabetes Association).
- Andy Stewart has received an FDR grant to fund research of an insulinoma biorepository, ie a frozen tissue bank of rare, often benign tumors of pancreatic beta cells which overproduce insulin. Such tumors may provide insights into how beta cells replicate and may, among other potential possibilities, provide drug targets for future therapies aimed at increasing beta cell numbers. This research is aligned with FDR’s mission to fund research aimed towards eventually finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Given the rarity of insulinomas, Dr Stewart’s grant proposes to amass and maintain a large biorepository of these tumors in order to provide reproducible scientific insights.
- Dr Qizhi Tang has received an FDR grant (in partnership with the American Diabetes Association) to fund research to better understand why more than 60% of human transplanted beta cells die within a short period of time after being transplanted, making both the transplant of these beta cells inefficient and reducing the pool of available beta cells for other patients. Dr. Tang’s research aims to learn how to protect beta cells from peri-transplant stress induced cell death. Her research, for which she has preliminary data, is focused on 2 key areas to improve beta cell survival, ie conditioning of beta cells for reduced oxygen and nutrients in the peri-transplant period.