New “Virtual Laboratory” Links Diabetes Researchers Worldwide

Miami, FL (October 18, 2005) — A generous gift from Dee and Bill Brehm of McLean, Virginia, has enabled the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) to establish a “virtual laboratory,” linking scientists at multiple centers and further accelerating the global effort to cure diabetes.

The new Brehm Virtual Diabetes Research Network is a state-of-the-art, multi-channel audio and video system that allows investigators around the world to collaborate and share information in real time as if they were working side by side in the same laboratory.

Using the new system, investigators can perform joint translational and bench-top research, as well as facilitate the training of young scientists in the most cutting-edge techniques currently available. Critical newly developed procedures in islet technology conducted in the DRI’s cGMP/cGTP laboratory, such as human cell processing, can be observed simultaneously by colleagues at distant research centers.

The couple is actively involved in funding research to cure diabetes. Mrs. Brehm was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than 50 years ago. Their personal interest in a diabetes cure, combined with Mr. Brehm’s professional expertise led them to make a contribution to support the worldwide research effort.

A former executive in the information science technology field, he was impressed by Dr. Ricordi’s vision to unite leading diabetes researchers and speed progress in a cost efficient manner. “We were attracted by Dr. Ricordi’s openness and willingness to experiment with this pioneering technology,” said Mr. Brehm.

“This is as an opportunity to facilitate collaboration among scientists and bring us closer to a cure by enabling them to work together without physically being together.”

The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami is a recognized world leader in diabetes cure-focused research. Pioneering new technologies in islet transplantation and other cellular therapies since the early 1970’s, the DRI has successfully reversed diabetes in patients participating in ongoing clinical trials.

The most comprehensive diabetes research facility of its kind, the DRI conducts a broad range of scientific programs focused on pancreatic stem cell development, molecular biology, immune tolerance, and transplant immunology among others, to speed the most promising findings from the lab to the patient.

For the millions of families affected by diabetes who are looking to the world of science for answers, the DRI is the best hope for a cure. 

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