Scientific Advisory Board
Diabetes Research Institute
The Diabetes Research Institute leads the world in cure-focused diabetes research. As one of the largest and most comprehensive research centers dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure for diabetes by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks.
Since its inception, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes, pioneering many of the techniques used in diabetes centers around the world. Having already shown that islet transplantation can eliminate the need for insulin therapy in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes by addressing the major challenges that have limited this cell replacement therapy to the most severe cases of T1D. Among its major research initiatives is the development of the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas, containing real insulin-producing cells and other vital components that keep the cells healthy and able to function long term. While various BioHub “platforms” are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, DRI researchers are also intensely focused on developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and halt the autoimmune attack that caused the onset of the disease, and developing an unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells.
Translating Research from the Lab to People with Diabetes
The DRI has always been and continues to be a strong voice for translational research, ensuring that promising findings in the lab are applied to patients in the fastest, safest and most efficient way possible. This longstanding philosophy drives its collaborative, fast-track approach to advancing cutting-edge disciplines that have a real potential to deliver a cure, like tissue engineering, immune-modulation, biomaterials, cellular reprogramming, and regenerative medicine, among others. Its singular focus on discovering a biological cure, along with the integration of technology and medicine, is what makes the DRI unique and distinguishes its research efforts from all others.
In contrast to the historically competitive world of medical research, the DRI is a unifier and a collaborator, bringing together scientists and centers to accelerate progress and shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a cure. Its multidisciplinary teams include researchers, engineers and clinicians, as well as a host of international partners, all working together to cure those now living with diabetes.
The Hub of a Global Research Alliance Focused on a Diabetes Cure
The DRI has an impressive track record of scientific collaboration and its most far-reaching initiative to date is the Diabetes Research Institute Federation. Researchers from more than two dozen medical centers from all corners of the world have agreed to form a one-of-a-kind alliance. This international network of collaborators share knowledge, pool expertise in specific research areas, and apply a diverse set of skills to the eradication of diabetes. The DRI leads this expanding effort with an underlying belief that the best way to make transformative discoveries – in the shortest amount of time – is to work together towards a cure.
The Best Work, The Best People, The Shortest Path to a Cure
The Institute’s open-door philosophy provides opportunities for scientists and biomedical companies around the world to develop and quickly test their most promising findings. Much of this work begins in the DRI’s Dr. Denise R. and Thomas D. Stern Fast Track Center for Testing, where investigators can access all three phases of research – basic (in the lab), pre-clinical (study models), and clinical (patient studies) – at the Institute and through its collaborating centers. This translational approach enables researchers to take potential new therapies begun in the lab and further develop these techniques to benefit those with diabetes.
International Recognition for Diabetes Research Excellence
For more than 40 consecutive years, DRI scientists have been awarded competitive federal and state grants in the field of diabetes. The resulting discoveries have been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and many of the DRI’s innovations are in current use at diabetes centers worldwide. As leaders in their respective fields, the Institute’s faculty serves on numerous national and international committees and provides leadership on many scientific review panels and associations.
The Strength of Philanthropic Funding
While competitive research grants are the mainstay of world-class research institutes, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation provides the DRI with critical funding to gather data that is often a prerequisite for larger grants. This funding stream is at the heart of DRI’s ability to innovate and make significant progress in the race for a cure. Supported by private philanthropy, the DRI Foundation also fills the gaps in many stages of the research process for which there is little federal funding, or for areas in which federal funding falls short of actual need. Driven by its core mission, the DRI Foundation’s support also ensures the body of work conducted at the DRI remains cure-focused and will ultimately benefit those with diabetes.
A Community Resource for People with Diabetes
The DRI is a designated Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, providing informative education and training programs for many types of health care professionals and industry representatives. For patients with diabetes and their families, the DRI’s Kosow Diabetes Treatment Center offers the highest standards of health care delivery, ongoing management and education support, and numerous clinical research possibilities.
The Best Hope for a Cure
The Diabetes Research Institute was created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. With an aggressive approach to curing those living with diabetes, along with its unique spirit of collaboration and notable accomplishments, the DRI is leading the international effort to eradicate this disease. For the millions of people affected by diabetes, the DRI is the best hope for a cure.