New Jersey – Florida Partnership to Speed Diabetes Research

A Cure for Diabetes is One Step Closer 

(January 6, 2011) – The MOLLY and LINDSEY Diabetes Research Foundation at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) and the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, have joined forces to find the cure for type 1 diabetes.  Together they will form the Hackensack-Miami DRI Federation Project, a think tank of East Coast specialists who will fast-track the best research ideas coming out of the labs and put them to the test in clinically meaningful ways, thus shortening the path to a cure for those with type 1 diabetes.  

The project will provide a unique opportunity for funding agencies, financial institutions, and corporate entities to collaborate with the scientists and their project teams in order to provide the core competencies and infrastructure needed to move projects forward in the safest, fastest, and most efficient way possible.

DRIF President/CEO Robert A. Pearlman & HUMC Executive VP/COO Robert L. Torre

“This collaboration represents an exceptional opportunity to overcome current limitations of research progress within traditional academic institutions,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of HUMC. “Project investigators at both centers will work together to fully develop and test pilot clinical trials. The program will position HUMC and the DRI as dual leaders in the quest for a cure.”

Michael Shapiro, M.D., chief of Organ Transplantation at HUMC, and Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery and Scientific Director of the DRI, are heading up the Miami-Hackensack project.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is going to take the lead in diabetes research in the tri-state area,” said Dr. Shapiro. “Forty percent of transplant patients have diabetes. And we know the DRI is committed to linking everyone worldwide to find a cure.”

Michael Shapiro, MD, chief of Organ Transplantation at HUMC & Camillo Ricordi, MD, DRI Scientific Director

One of the group’s first objectives is to expand collaborative alliances with other leading research centers and to foster dynamic multidisciplinary research teams. 

“There are few other collaborative projects that fully integrate basic, pre-clinical and clinical scientists to increase the rate of progress at which therapeutic solutions for type 1 diabetes can be safely and effectively brought from the bench to the bedside and eventually to a cure,” said Dr. Ricordi.

The impossible becomes possible when you bring the right people and the right resources together – especially when there is a common goal. The MOLLY and LINDSEY Diabetes Research Foundation is the brainchild of two families who know what it means to have a child living with diabetes. 

Nick Miniccuci and his wife, Susan, made a pledge more than two decades ago when they were told their nine-year-old daughter Molly had diabetes.

“I vowed to do everything in my power to find a cure” explains Mr. Miniccuci, one of the philanthropists behind the alliance.  “That was a promise I intend to keep.” 

“When Lindsey was diagnosed at the age of 11, we searched the world for a place that focused on curing the disease – not simply on learning to live with it – and found the DRI,” said Bonnie Inserra, co-founder of the Foundation.  “There’s nobody like them worldwide. The DRI team doesn’t keep research to themselves; they are experts who believe in worldwide collaborative science.  I want to see diabetes cured.”

In recognition of the endless efforts of Susan and Nick Minicucci and Bonnie and Larry Inserra, the HUMC Foundation’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Robert L. Torre, presented a $500,000 check to the Miami-Hackensack project during a dinner held recently at the Stony Hill Inn Hackensack.  More than 50 people came together to celebrate a turning point in the history of diabetes thanks to the Minicucci and Inserra families.

“We want to celebrate this new partnership – together we will find a cure,” Torre said.

About HUMC

HUMC is a nationally recognized healthcare organization offering patients the most comprehensive services, state-of-the-art technologies, and facilities. A leader in providing the highest quality patient-centered care, the medical center has been recognized for performance excellence encompassing the entire spectrum of hospital quality and service initiatives. These honors include being named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades® for four years in a row. HUMC is the only hospital in New Jersey, New York, and New England to receive this honor. The medical center has also been ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals 2010-11” in Geriatrics and Heart and Heart Surgery. NJBIZ, New Jersey’s premiere business news publication, honored HUMC as the 2010 Hospital of the Year, recognized for its excellence, innovation, and efforts which are making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in New Jersey. Hospital Newspaper, the leading provider of local hospitals and healthcare community news and information for hospital executives, also named HUMC Hospital of the Year in its December 2010 edition. Additionally, HUMC was named to The Leapfrog Group’s annual class of top hospitals and health systems and is one of only two hospitals in New Jersey to receive this national designation. HUMC is the hometown hospital of the New York Giants and Nets Basketball.

About the DRI

The Diabetes Research Institute, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. The DRI is now building upon these achievements by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.  Visit or call 800-321-3437 for more information.


Media Contact:

Natasha Norris
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Nancy A. Radwin 
Hackensack University Medical Center

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