Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease which affects nearly 26 million Americans. As many as three million people have Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes that usually occurs in children or young adults. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin. People with this disease must take insulin in order to stay alive. They must also balance their food intake and exercise.
Scientists around the world have been working for decades to find better treatments, cures and even preventions for this disease. In a new $4.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists from Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle Children's Research Institute and University of Virginia are joining forces to combine their expertise in three different areas of research in order to determine how genes contribute to the development of T1D.
"This research is targeted at understanding the genetic causes of Type 1 diabetes," said Jane Buckner, MD, Principal Investigator of the study and Associate Director of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI). "This is fundamental to being able to predict disease and develop interventions (therapies) that can treat, cure and we hope prevent Type 1 diabetes." Dr. Buckner's co-investigators on the grant are David Rawlings, MD, director of the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies at Seattle Children's Research Institute and Patrick Concannon, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at University of Virginia (UVA).