About the Chicago Diabetes Project
The Chicago Diabetes Project is working to make islet cell transplantation a viable treatment option for diabetes. Based in Chicago at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Services, the Chicago Diabetes Project is a collection of scientists, researchers, physicians and surgeons spanning the globe whose mission is to cure diabetes.
In the last few decades, a vast amount of scientific knowledge has been gathered dealing with how insulin-producing cells develop, function and survive in the average human body and how they become compromised and destroyed in patients with diabetes. In recent years, interest in diabetes has intensified on account of the nearing epidemic proportions: in 1985 there were 30 million diabetics; today that number has rocketed to more than 170 million. By 2025, diabetes is likely to affect 300 million people worldwide.
The need for a functional cure is critical. As a result of this ever-increasing epidemic, the Chicago Diabetes Project (CDP) has dedicated itself to create a functional cure for diabetes in the shortest possible time, based on the transplantation of immunoprotected, insulin-producing cells, without the need for long-term medications. By delivering a limitless source of pancreatic islet cells for transplantation in diabetic patients, members of the CDP team offer the nation’s 30 million diabetics, and patients throughout the world, a chance at living a normal and healthy life free of the management struggles of controlling diabetes.
We are performing islet-cell transplants on Type 1 diabetic patients as part of a Phase 3 clinical trial being conducted by the Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium. This trial will bring us one important step closer to making islet-cell transplants standard medical care.
Our researchers across the world are making these transplants safer and more effective by researching cell encapsulation, which may help patients avoid the immunosuppressant drugs necessary after a transplant. We are also looking into cell genesis, which will provide new islet cell sources and eventually eliminate the need for donor-cell transplants.