DRI’s unique research philosophy and promising research progress give patients and families real hope for a cure.
HOLLYWOOD, FL— November 1, 2011 – Beginning today, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is giving those with diabetes and their loved ones continued hope for a cure with the launch of its “Reason to Believe” campaign. Kicking off National Diabetes Awareness Month, Reason to Believe, or r2b, will emphasize the organization’s singular focus on curing diabetes and unique research philosophy while raising critical funds for the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, the recognized world leader in cure-focused diabetes research.
The Reason to Believe story will come to life through a series of videos that can be viewed on Reason2Believe.org. The videos feature parents, patients and researchers alike expressing their Reason to Believe in a cure. Parents like Jenn and Jared Tacher of Pembroke Pines, FL, whose 3-year-old son, Jace, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just over a year ago, believe that one day their son will be free from the burdens of this disease.
“I just look into my son’s eyes and I see a story of hope, and the DRI has been a provider of that because I see the research that they do,” says Jenn Tacher. “I definitely, definitely have a reason to believe. There is hope; there’s definitely so much work being done to help those who suffer.”
Like the Tachers, millions affected by diabetes dream of the day when they no longer need to take insulin injections, test their blood sugar levels or face the fear of crippling complications. The discovery of a biological cure – restoring natural insulin production to normalize blood sugar levels – would free patients from the daily demands of this disease.
The Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation is the only organization solely dedicated to finding a biological cure. DRI researchers have made significant progress toward this goal, having already demonstrated that insulin independence can be achieved through islet cell transplantation, a procedure in which the insulin-producing cells from a donor pancreas are transplanted into patients with diabetes. Though still experimental, islet transplantation is the most promising method for reversing the disease and has dramatically changed the lives of several patients who have participated in the DRI’s clinical transplantation trials.
Karla Edge, 50, of Pensacola, FL, who is featured in another Reason to Believe video, is one such patient who has been living insulin-free for more than six years after receiving an islet transplant. Diagnosed with type 1 at age 6, Edge is now living her dream and has a Reason to Believe in a cure.
“All they have to do is hear my story. I no longer have the problems, I don’t have erratic blood sugars, and I have a second chance at life,” she said. “I wish everyone with type 1 could have this. They saved my life.”
While Edge’s story, together with those of dozens of other islet transplant recipients, is a testament to the progress being made toward a cure, it is the unique DRI philosophy that truly gives patients and their families a Reason to Believe.
“Curing diabetes has been and will continue to be our singular focus until that goal is reached,” said Robert A. Pearlman, president and CEO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “There is no other organization that financially supports research that is 100 percent focused on a cure. That is why those who are serious and passionately committed to finding a cure become a part of the DRI family. They can see and feel a shared mission to end this disease.”
According to DRI Scientific Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi, a cure for diabetes can only come from maintaining an organizational commitment to staying completely cure-focused and by collaborating with other centers worldwide to exchange ideas and accelerate progress.
“The only sure way to not find a cure is to abandon the search for a cure,” he says. “This doesn’t mean we’re promising that there will be a cure tomorrow or next year or in two years. Everyone at the DRI works with the intensity, enthusiasm and the focus to develop a cure as if the cure is around the corner.” In fact, the pace at which research is moving forward has never before offered such promise, says Dr. Ricordi.
“There is a sufficient element of progress in the last five years to justify our renewed interest and enthusiasm in cure focused research and gives us a great hope that a cure could be within reach,” he said. Through its commitment to global collaboration, the DRI partners with investigators working within diabetes research as well as other disease disciplines to cure many health conditions.
“It’s really bringing the collaborative spirit and the search for a cure to the global level, bridging expertise and discplines, where one advancement in diabetes can help other autoimmune diseases and vice versa,” explains Dr. Ricordi, who created the worldwide Diabetes Research Institute Federation global network in 2006 and, more recently, the Cure Focus Research Alliance (Cure FoR All), which expands into other diseases.
Those wanting to hear more from Dr. Ricordi and other DRI scientists about the latest research toward a cure can view the new Diabetes 2.0 video update online, in which the researchers explain their cutting-edge initiatives underway and the progress made just in the last year in areas like tolerance induction, tissue engineering, nanotechnology, development of new sources of insulin-producing cells, cell regeneration and tissue reprogramming, among others. Diabetes 2.0 is running in conjunction with the Reason to Believe Campaign.
“Tomorrow isn’t soon enough to cure the millions of children and adults living with diabetes worldwide,” said Pearlman. “There is a Reason to Believe in a cure and with the necessary support, we will be able to realize our goal much sooner.”
The DRI Foundation is asking those around the country – and throughout the world – who share its mission to participate in the Reason to Believe campaign by making a donation and/or by becoming a Diabetes Diplomat by organizing their own fundraising project in November. A $50,000 matching gift is being offered toward the r2b Diabetes Diplomats campaign.
One of the most exciting Diabetes Diplomat projects that can be organized is a school site educational and fundraising program. It doesn’t matter whether the child is personally affected by diabetes or not. What does matter is that this program allows students to Be the Hero by playing a central role in these school-based activities.
Many sponsors have joined the effort, including Animas, LifeScan, Children with Diabetes and Diabetes Health.
About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation
The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) is the organization of choice for those who are serious, passionate and committed to curing diabetes. Its mission is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now.
The Diabetes Research Institute, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a biological cure for this disease. Having already shown that diabetes can be reversed through islet transplantation, the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies. 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. For the millions of people affected by diabetes, the DRI is the best hope for a cure. For more information, visit DiabetesResearch.org.
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Lori Weintraub, APR
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