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What is The Islet Foundation?

For the last thirty years, research at universities and private labs has moved slowly toward achieving a cure for insulin-dependent diabetes. The Islet Foundation (TIF) is dedicated to supporting the "final push" for that research effort, a push that may provide a safe and viable cure for millions of diabetics.

Other charitable foundations provide essential funding to the broad spectrum of diabetic needs, including education, training, supplies, legal issues, and basic research. Their activities have improved the lives of many diabetics, but have frequently failed to support research initiatives that are likely to deliver a near-term cure for diabetes.

The Islet Foundation is different, focusing its resources to advance one specific line of research from the laboratory to human trials and, ultimately, to a routine cure for insulin-dependent diabetes. Rather than spread its resources among many diabetic management and research initiatives, TIF is betting on a single body of research, one which many researchers feel is the most likely to result in a near-term cure.

TIF is focusing on islet replacement without immunosuppression, a procedure which many believe will allow people with diabetes to continuously maintain normal blood sugar levels, without the crude intervention of injected insulin, and without the many short-term and long-term problems associated with this process of disease management. Within the broad spectrum of islet replacement, there are a number of promising directions, including islet xenotransplantation, islet cell engineering, islet cell expansion, and islet neogenesis. Each of these initiatives has its own set of advantages and challenges. Some approaches hold the promise of near term relief from the consequences of crudely controlled blood glucose, and some represent subsequent generations of improved treatment.

The main activity of TIF is to provide information on the most promising research and to apply pressure to funding organizations and investors to support these initiatives. As a result, TIF is in regular contact with such groups as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Digestive and Diabetes and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the Medical Research Council (MRC) of Canada, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Diabetes Research Working Group (DRWG) of the US Congress, politicians, regulators, pharmaceutical companies, and other private and public bodies that are key to realizing a cure for diabetes in the near term.

TIF's fund raising activities are minimal, and nobody should feel any pressure to contribute financially. TIF can be much more effective helping to steer the mainstream funding organizations than it can be raising money and funding directly. But we are always ready to accept your moral support and good ideas.

TIF is a non-profit charitable foundation staffed by unpaid volunteers, collaborating with some of the world's leading medical researchers in the field of diabetes.