UVA To Fund Type 1 Research
The millions of people around the world living with type 1 diabetes have found an ally in the University of Virginia.
The University's Strategic Investment Fund has pledged to give UVA's School of Medicine and School of Engineering $17 million in an effort to research type 1 diabetes. Their research, they hope, will eventually lead to the discovery of a cure for the condition.
UVA was instrumental in the development of an artificial pancreas system, which works to monitor insulin levels in type 1 diabetics. Professionals at the University, like Dr. Boris Kovatchev, hope that this technology can drive the search for a cure forward in the coming years.
"We're leading... towards establishing this technology as a mainstream control of Type 1 diabetes," Kovatchev said.
While technological research will account for a portion of UVA's spending, other professors want to examine the disease at a cellular level. In fact, one-third of the $17 million dollar budget is dedicated to finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure type 1 diabetes.
"There is a cell among within many cells in the immune system called a t-regulatory cell,” said Professor Larry Lum. “And that cell we are going to make."
Lum hopes that studies in his lab can help type 1 diabetic patients block inflammation in their cells – which could make what he refers to as “a big dent” in the development and treatment of type 1 diabetes over the next decade.
Regardless of their primary focus, scientists at UVA are enthusiastic about this funding and what it will do for the future of type 1 diabetes. "There is virtually no cur[ing] any autoimmune disease. That affects the immune system targeting its own body," Kovatchev said. “[This research will] benefit every one of the million plus people who have Type 1 diabetes.”