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Discoveries in Diabetes

Spring 2014

Cracking the code

Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Regenerating islet cells may lead to a cure for diabetes—which is why it’s a priority for the University’s Stem Cell Institute

For decades, researchers have focused much of their energy on minimizing the impact of diabetes. Because people with diabetes do not have functioning pancreas islet cells—essential for producing the insulin our bodies need—physicians and scientists have found ways to help them manage their blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, medications, and insulin injections.

But Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota’s Stem Cell Institute, wants to think much bigger. He doesn’t just want to make it easier for patients to live with their diabetes; he wants to cure them of it.

Teddy bear delivers funding to researchers around the world, including one Minnesota expert in cystic fibrosis-related diabetes

As a special gift for Burke Derr, a lifelong teddy bear collector, his friends asked a teddy bear company to create a bear for Burke. The original Burke P. Bear arrived at the hospital five days before Burke died. Today Burke P. Bear is the world-travelin

He has toured 47 states and 23 countries to increase awareness of cystic fibrosis (CF)—a genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up and clog some organs of the body, primarily the lungs—and he gets hugs everywhere he goes. This furry advocate is Burke P. Bear, a cuddly teddy bear named in honor of Burke P. Derr, who died two days before his 19th birthday in 1997 from complications of CF.

Join us for a special event: Diabetes Spotlight


Learn about how the U of M’s trailblazing scientists are shaping the future of diabetes treatment at the first-ever Diabetes Spotlight on Thursday, May 29.

Seaquist named to ADA leadership role

Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D.

University of Minnesota professor and endocrinologist Elizabeth Seaquist, M.D., in January was named President of Medicine and Science for the American Diabetes Association, the nation’s largest voluntary health organization leading the fight against diabetes.

A step toward slowing diabetic kidney disease?


The University of Minnesota and Harvard University will partner on a multicenter clinical study evaluating a potential treatment for kidney disease in people who have type 1 diabetes. The study will be funded by a $24.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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