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Immunosuppression research is key to solving type 1 diabetes

A new fundraising initiative keeps cure-focused diabetes research on the fast track

Islet cell transplantation has transformed the lives of people like David Thoen. For roughly a decade, Thoen regularly had diabetic seizures while in the middle of a conversation, in the car, and even while sleeping. He never knew when one might strike, and his family and friends had to help him in sometimes life-threatening situations. Following a human-to-human islet cell transplant through a University of Minnesota clinical trial at the Schulze Diabetes Institute (SDI), Thoen is now free of diabetes.

Islet transplants are curing diabetes, but they are not widely used, in part because the immunosuppressant drugs recipients must take have toxic side effects. Crucial research to solve the shortcomings of immunosuppression is under way at SDI, but more work is needed. That’s why the University of Minnesota recently launched an immunology initiative aimed at addressing these issues.

Aggressive immunosuppression research will accelerate the SDI’s cure-focused diabetes research. The University now needs funding to engage a world-renowned transplant immunology expert on a consulting basis and fill four full-time immunology positions to work with Bernhard Hering, M.D., SDI’s scientific director, on this high-impact program. The team’s sole focus will be to greatly minimize the immunosuppressive drugs needed to protect transplanted islets from rejection.

Make a profound impact

Hering has developed a clear roadmap to providing a widespread cure for type 1 diabetes using minimal or no immunosuppressant drugs, but this destination can only be reached with philanthropic support.

The plan outlines two clearly defined, synergistic approaches: creating a vaccine that conditions the recipient’s body to accept transplanted islets and developing a new transplant site that protects the transplanted cells.

Join us by funding this urgently needed immunology initiative, which will keep the quest for a diabetes cure on the fast track. Your generous support will help us develop a widely available cure for diabetes so millions of people, including your family and friends, will no longer have to suffer from this burdensome disease.

How to help

Make a gift to support this initiative, or contact Jean Gorell, director of development at the Minnesota Medical Foundation at 612-625-0497 or

You can make a difference

Help the University of Minnesota save lives, inspire hope, and prepare the world’s future health care leaders. Make a gift today.

Because with your support, anything is possible.

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