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The Chicago Diabetes Project

Global Collaboration for a Functional Cure



In 2004, the Washington Square Health Foundation developed the idea of having researchers from around the world come together to form the Chicago Diabetes Project, a group of highly qualified scientists and their teams who committed themselves to achieving one goal: cure type one diabetes


The CDP is working to functionally cure diabetes by transplanting insulin-producing islet cells into diabetic patients, which would reduce or eliminate the need for multiple exogenous insulin injections daily and provide better control of blood glucose levels. Our mission is to develop and perfect this procedure in the shortest time possible, without the need for immunosuppressive drugs. Eliminating the use of immunosuppressive drugs will make the procedure more affordable, reduce side effects, and allow the procedure to serve a broader patient population.

The Chicago Diabetes Project is performing late stage critical experiments that are yielding promising results.  Dr. Jose Oberholzer, Founder of the Chicago Diabetes Project, along with other CDP collaborators strongly believe that the scientific community has all the necessary components to make cell-based therapy an option for millions of diabetic patients, except one. To eradicate diabetes, our need for funding is critical.

The Chicago Diabetes Project has never wavered from their crystal-clear vision of functionally curing diabetes.

We have overcome countless obstacles to make this scientific discovery a reality for the 1.6 million Americans living with T1D. The CDP has sought out the most brilliant and dedicated surgeons, researchers, physicians and scientists to move these discoveries from the labs and into the body of patients. 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 have become compromised and destroyed in patients with diabetes. The prediction of 5 million Americans who will suffer from diabetes by 2050 is astonishing and something we have to change. We are like no other organization in the world.  We are not looking for accolades of success, rather simply want all those who suffer from Type 1 to lead a normal life. 

We have a clear vision, the most dedicated scientists, physicians, and surgeons, and the passion to functionally cure this growing epidemic called diabetes.

Get Involved
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Get Involved


A Lasting Cure Starts with Your Help.


Train for a Marathon with Cellmates on the Run.


Organize a Fundraiser with us.

Islet Cell Transplantation

Are you eligible? Find out.

1.6 Million


1.4 Million


< 1/3

$16 Billion

Americans living with Type 1 Diabetes
Americans < 20 years old living with T1D
Americans > 20 years old living with T1D
Americans diagnosed with T1D each year
Americans with T1D consistently achieving target blood-glucose control levels
Annual U.S. T1D-associated healthcare expenditures and lost income

Our Team

Clinical Translation and Trials

Jose Oberholzer


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Kirstie Danielson



Rebecca Monson


Beta-Cell Testing Core Facility
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Yong Wang


Inflammation Research
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Anne Mari Rokstad


Biomaterial and Encapsulation Research
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Igor Lacík

PhD, DSc


Berit Løkensgard Strand

PhD, MSc


Vladimír Raus


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Zuzana Kroneková


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Matt Bochenek


Expandable Islet Cell Source Research
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Jan Jensen



Solomon Afelik


Foundation Board Members
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Brigitte Oberholzer

Board Member

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John Dine

Board Member


Jill Dine

Fundraising & Special Events


Patsy Dine Carrane

Development Coordinator

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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

October 2024 

Research Programs
Oil and Water

Research Programs

1. Clinical Islet Cell Transplantation

Using islet isolated from donated organs and system immunosuppression to prevent rejection and recurrence of type 1 diabetes. The main goal is to obtain FDA approval and, subsequently, approval by Medicare and insurances for reimbursement. This would allow 1,000 to 2,000 patients a year, in the United States alone, to receive an islet cell transplant - this can improve the control of blood sugar levels and, in most patients, lead to long-term insulin independence.

2. Encapsulated Islet Cell Transplantation


Using islet isolated from donated organs, but without long-term immunosuppression. A biomaterial shell protects the islets from rejection. We are working with an international team on bringing this to clinical application in 2022. While this will still limit the number of transplants to 1,000 - 2,000 patients a year, it would be an important proof of concept for use in future, stem cell derived islets, that may have unlimited availability.

3. Unlimited Islet Cells


Identify a safe and practical source of unlimited islet cells that could be transplanted in patients using encapsulation technologies. We are working with experts in stem cell biology, as well as teams working on pig islet cell transplant approaches - two possible sources for less limited applications than cadaveric islets from donated organs.


The Chicago Diabetes Project/Cellmates on the Run Foundation is pleased to announce we have received our first 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. 

We’re proud to receive this rating, because it reflects our deep commitment to finding a functional cure for type one diabetes through islet cell transplants. 


A 4-star rating means that when you donate to the CDP,  you can be confident your donation will be spent wisely – on cutting-edge research to further our one mission:cure type one diabetes. 

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