JDRF Islet Transplantation Center at UCSF and U of Minn

Investigator: Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD
Sponsor: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

Location(s): United States


The mission of the JDRF COLLABORATIVE CENTER FOR CELL THERAPY at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Columbia University (CU), La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI), Benaroya Institute (BI) and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is to develop successful antigen-specific regulatory T cell therapy as a new clinical approach to treat patients with ongoing, auto-aggressive type 1 diabetes. There is a mounting body of evidence that this approach can block disease progression in an immunosuppression-free setting and may provide an adjunct therapy for islet transplantation.    

The approach is interdisciplinary and multi-faceted. The Center will capitalize upon the novel tolerogenic and autoantigen-specific properties of regulatory T cells pioneered by these research groups, while providing new insights into regulatory T cell biology and immunology. It will develop new and refined methodologies for the generation, expansion and functional characterization of Tregs. Most importantly, the Center will move this new technology from the laboratory to clinical testing by conducting early proof of principle phase I/II trials in patients with diabetes. The preclinical development of Tregs with establishment of GMP grade cells will be a critical accomplishment.

This Center therefore aims to develop and test a new approach to the treatment of T1D by bringing together leading groups of researchers from 5 academic institutions and 1 commercial partner who have strong, complimentary credentials in basic science, translational research, clinical diabetes research and diabetes treatment, as well as state-of-the-art supporting facilities to bring this important opportunity to the clinical arena.