-Craig Idlebrook and the T1D Exchange Staff
Last week, JDRF announced the launch of the first of what will become a series of Centers for Excellence. They represent an innovative model of funding to accelerate research and encourage collaboration in type 1 diabetes care.
The JDRF Northern California Center for Excellence will bring together key diabetes investigators involved in diabetes cellular therapy and immune system research from Stanford University and UCSF, according to a press release. The Center will be headed by Seung Kim, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Stanford Diabetes Research Center, and Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D., Director, Diabetes Center at UCSF, according to a Beyond Type 1 report.
The effort will focus on and support the development and implementation of beta cell transplant therapy to replace insulin-producing cells. These are eventually destroyed by the immune system in the body of an individual with type 1 diabetes.
The goal with JDRF’s new Centers for Excellence model is to provide a stable funding source for five years for those research teams that are doing collaborative, high-impact research in type 1 diabetes care. To ensure the work stays on course, the work of grantees will be evaluated by JDRF at the beginning of the third year before funding is released for the final two years. In this philanthropic model, special emphasis will be placed on collaboration between institutions.
Beta cell replacement therapy was also in the news last week when Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced it would purchase Semma Therapeutics for $950 million. Semma Therapeutics has been building on the work of Douglas Melton, PhD, a Harvard researcher who has pioneered new methods to grow, harvest, and deliver insulin-producing beta cells.
Congratulations to our partner JDRF!