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January NUI Galway-led €1.6 Million Programme to Train Researchers in the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes
Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of patients with Type 1 diabetes
The NUI Galway coordinated DELIVER programme, which will train six early career translational research scientists in the field of insulin producing cell transplantation for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes has been awarded €1.6 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding. Each early stage researcher will spend half of their time with an academic partner and the other half with an industry partner which will ensure a focus on clinical translation of the outcomes of the research.
JDRF, the world’s largest non-profit funder of Type 1 diabetes research says that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. Without insulin production the body has trouble regulating its blood-glucose, or blood-sugar, levels. Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed early in life but also in adulthood. Its causes are not fully known, and there is currently no cure. People with this form of diabetes are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive. If not treated properly, people are vulnerable to health issues ranging from minor to severe. Chronic high blood sugar often causes devastating health complications later in life, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and nerve damage that can lead to amputations.
The DELIVER programme will develop new strategies to deliver pancreatic insulin producing cells effectively in a targeted and protected fashion to transplant sites in the body. This programme is a major interdisciplinary effort between cell biologists, experts in biomaterials, medical devices and advanced drug delivery, clinical experts and biomedical companies focused on academic training and spearheading innovative medical devices for insulin producing cell transplantation.
DELIVER will be led by Professor Garry Duffy, Anatomy, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, along with his NUI Galway colleagues, Dr Eimear Dolan, Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, Professor Timothy O’Brien and Dr Liam Burke from the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, and Dr Esther O’Sullivan from UCH Galway.
Professor Garry Duffy at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to lead the DELIVER programme and to continue to translate new collaborative research for the benefit of patients with Type 1 diabetes. We are also excited to train the next generation of researchers in this area, and to give them the industrial skills necessary to have real patient impact. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of patients who have Type 1 diabetes, and through DELIVER we will develop new technologies to enhance stem cell therapies for these patients by improving the longevity of the implants.”
DELIVER will also link to research expertise in two Science Foundation Ireland funded research centres at NUI Galway, AMBER and CỨRAM. Professor Duffy is a funded investigator in both of these centres and the new early stage researchers will have exposure to leading research in materials science and medical devices through this interaction.
The programme builds on research efforts from another large EU funded project, DRIVE which is also coordinated by Professor Garry Duffy at NUI Galway, and will see further capacity for research in the area of cell based solutions for Type 1 diabetes. See: www.drive-project.eu.
The DELIVER training partners join from three EU countries comprising of Academic (NUI Galway, Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, and RCSI, Dublin); Industry (Boston Scientific Galway, Explora SRL, Rome); and Clinical (Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milan) participants.
DELIVER has received funding under a European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network (ITN) grant agreement.
Recruitment for the six early career translational research scientists positions will be available online at the end of January at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/.