nPOD supports global collaborative research
Up until recently, researchers seeking to unlock the mystery of type 1 diabetes (T1D) relied on many different theories. Some stemmed from autopsy-based studies of human pancreas dating back to the 1960s, while others were from investigations of pancreatic material obtained from rodent models for the disease. Yet all that changed in 2007 when JDRF launched the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD). The brainchild of JDRF-funded scientist, Dr. Mark A. Atkinson, nPOD is the world’s largest tissue bank that supports several research organizations dedicated to advancing their understanding of the human pancreas in T1D.
The pancreas plays an essential role as an organ in our body. It not only converts the food we eat into fuel for our cells, but also aids with digestion and blood sugar control.
nPOD collects and processes pancreatic and other tissues from deceased organ donors who were at increased risk for T1D in order to address key immunological, histological, viral, and metabolic questions related to T1D development. By sharing them with investigators around the world, it facilitates collaboration on scientific questions related to autoimmunity, the role of viruses in triggering T1D, dysfunctional insulin production and more.
The scientific direction of nPOD is overseen by an external advisory board comprised of prominent diabetes investigators across the country. Over the past decade, organ donor research has led to breakthroughs in recognizing the role of the pancreas and the impact of T1D on beta cells. Currently, there are over 150 nPOD projects in progress in nine areas of research.
JDRF has committed $10.5 million over the next five years to expand nPOD’s mission. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, our partner in this endeavor, has committed an additional $4.7 million.
For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog.