Diabetes Fundraiser Helps Get Closer To Cure


The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) held its 13th Annual Cooking For a Cure Fundraiser on April 11. The event was cochaired by Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Rebecca Castronovo, both of whom have daughters who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were very young and have been deeply involved with DRIF for well over a decade.

From left: DRIF Director Anthony Childs, Event Organizer Stacy Sissons McKenna, Glen Cove Mayor Reggie Spinello, Councilman Joseph Capobianco, Event Organizer Sue Herbst, Event Cochairs Rebecca Castronovo and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Councilwoman Pam Panzenbeck (Photo by Tony Gallego)

“I would like to thank the committee and all those who support the DRIF, especially Stacy Sissons McKenna and Sue Herbst, for helping to organize this great event,” Cochair DeRiggi-Whitton said.

The DRIF runs the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. The DRI’s focus is to develop a biological cure by replacing those cells.

A very promising study for which the DRIF recently received FDA approval to conduct in clinical trials is their BioHub. This bioengineered “mini organ” contains thousands of insulin-producing cells that sense blood sugar levels and release the precise amount of insulin needed, thereby mimicking the function of a normal pancreas. The BioHub containing the donor islet cells is transplanted into the omentum, which is an apron-like lining covering the abdominal organ. The BioHub acts as a “scaffold,” holding the cells in place until they naturally adhere to the wall of the omentum, after which point, the BioHub naturally dissolves.

“We know that transplanted islet cells have already functioned in some patients for more than 10 years,” DRIF Long Island Regional Director Anthony Childs said. “The DRIF is building on that progress by developing the BioHub, a bioengineered mini-organ, to reach a biological cure for type 1 diabetes.”

“The BioHub is the most promising clinical trial yet for a biological cure for diabetes,” DeRiggi-Whitton added. “I am so proud to be part of an organization that can help potentially the 29-million Americans and 370-million people worldwide with diabetes to live longer, healthier lives.”

Go to www.diabetesresearch.org/diabetes-clinical trials for more information.


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