The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) annual meeting is being held in Berlin right now, and yesterday I received a JDRF press release about the studies they’ve funded that will presented at the conference.
You know what? The press release put me in a good mood. Thinking about all of the researchers presenting and the strides they’ve made – it’s fascinating and encouraging. I mean, what’s better than learning about incredible science and being filled with hope at the same time? So according to the press release, JDRF’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Richard Insel, said “The JDRF-funded studies being presented show the breadth of our work across the spectrum of type 1 diabetes research as we seek to cure, better treat, and prevent this disease.”
Highlights of the conference will include:
Beta cell imaging – Two studies, performed by teams in Denmark and Sweden, looked at techniques for visualizing the insulin-producing beta cells still in the body. Such capabilities, if perfected, would enable scientists to see and better understand how the cells are affected by the autoimmune response, contributing to efforts to halt their destruction and promote cell regeneration. The studies were led by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden and The Bartholin Institute in Copenhagen.
Immune therapies – Researchers representing multiple academic institutions will present their latest data on different therapeutic attempts to preserve the function of beta cells in people who have been recently diagnosed with T1D. Each of the three studies utilized different therapeutic agents, including the anti-CD3 agent teplizumab, developed by Macrogenics and tested by a team led by Dr. Kevan Herold of Yale University.
Biomarkers – A team of JDRF-funded researchers from the Institute of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology in Munich, led by Dr. Gabi Kastenmuller, will present findings looking at metabolic signatures associated with autoantibodies in an attempt to determine whether the presence of the signatures could indicate an elevated risk for T1D. Accurate biomarkers would enable scientists to more precisely target patients for clinical trials as well as measure any potential therapeutic benefits.
You can read the full press release here.