Pancreas bioengineering at the MUHC receives funding boost

A new research grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) is set to provide a significant boost to a collaborative diabetes research effort led by MUHC investigator Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. The funds will be used to develop an innovative bioengineering process for the production of pancreatic endocrine tissue to treat diabetes. The JDRF and CIHR funding partnership is estimated to be worth approximately CAD $2 million over five years.

"Currently there are only two options for diabetics--daily injections or organ transplantation," says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, A.G. Thompson Chair of Surgical Research at the MUHC and Professor of Surgery and Medicine at McGill University. "This new funding will allow us to bioengineer new insulin-producing tissue in the laboratory, which can then be implanted into diabetics." This work complements additional research being conducted by Dr. Rosenberg, which aims to stimulate the regeneration of pancreatic cells within the body.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). Most people with diabetes have type 2, which also includes a loss of insulin-producing cells.

It is widely believed that a diabetes epidemic is underway. An estimated 30 million people worldwide had diabetes in 1985. A decade later, this number had increased to 135 million. In 2000 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 177 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes. This number is expected to exceed 300 million by 2025.

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The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University--the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and health care hospital research centre. Located in Montreal, Quebec, the institute is the research arm of the MUHC, a university health centre affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. The institute supports over 500 researchers, nearly 1,000 graduate and postdoctoral students, and operates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute operates at the forefront of knowledge, innovation and technology and is inextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring that patients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge. For further details visit: www.muhc.ca/research.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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