This week, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded two members of the Diabetes Center at UC San Francisco -- immunologist Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, and stem cell researcher Matthias Hebrok, PhD -- a grant to continue their breakthrough research on thymic cells, a key component to the immune system.
"Defects in the function of the thymus are part of the explanation for autoimmune diseases," Hebrok, who is the Diabetes Center director, said. "We are now much closer to our ultimate goal to generate both a thymus and specialized types of cells -- such as insulin-producing beta cells -- from the same stem cell source, transplant these cells into a patient, and prevent rejection of the transplanted cells."
Last year, the team created the first-functioning human thymus tissue from stem cells -- a ground-breaking discovery with tremendous implications for treating type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.
“The funding will help support cutting-edge work that will develop new ways to block the ability of the immune system to attack insulin-producing cells but still leave the immune system otherwise intact and functioning,” Anderson said.
The grant from California’s stem cell agency -- $1,191,000 -- will be used to continue research over the next several years.
# # #
About the Diabetes Center at UC San Francisco
In the Diabetes Center at UCSF, leading experts in diabetes research, patient care, and patient education work as one cohesive team to improve the quality of life of those living with the disease and to ultimately discover a cure.