JDRF and UBC work to eliminate the burden for those living with type 1 diabetes

JDRF Canada awards new research grant to Dr. Kieffer to explore new options for stem cell derived transplants for diabetes patients 

VANCOUVER – September 8, 2016--  JDRF Canada is pleased to announce exciting research to reduce the burden for those living with type 1 diabetes. JDRF has awarded Dr. Timothy Kieffer a $599,996 (USD) grant to find the most effective ways to transplant insulin-producing cells for people living with type 1 diabetes – a procedure that could one day reduce or eliminate their need for daily insulin injections.

Incredible breakthroughs have been made for transplanting clusters of insulin-producing cells for patients living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The procedure is quick and works very well, in many cases reducing or eliminating the need for insulin injections. Unfortunately, transplants relying on organ donors are difficult to come by, and only a small fraction of those who need them are actually candidates for the procedure because of the limited cell supply. 

Dr. Kieffer, a professor in the department of cellular and physiological sciences in UBC’s faculty of medicine, is generating insulin-producing cells from human stem cells and investigating the most effective way to deposit the cells under the skin. He and his team are testing the safety and efficacy of various approaches for implanting the cells, which can be produced in virtually unlimited quantities. Dr. Kieffer is hopeful that this will be a great option for treating diabetes in the near future.

“Every time I speak with someone living with or affected by T1D, we talk about the burden, the stress of management and the constant fear of being too high or low,” said Dave Prowten, President and CEO, JDRF Canada. “The work that Dr. Timothy Kieffer and his team are doing is getting us closer to a world where insulin injections can be eliminated and the burden of this disease can be lifted.”

“We have been successful in cultivating islet cells in the lab that are able to reverse diabetes when transplanted into mice,” said Dr. Kieffer. “These studies will identify a practical and clinically relevant procedure to effectively treat diabetes with human cells derived from stem cells, forming the basis for trials in patients.” 


About JDRF Canada

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D. JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.  

Media Contact:
Diana Buccella
National Communications Specialist, JDRF Canada
[email protected]


About University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s entrepreneurial spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. UBC encourages its students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.

Lets turn type one into type none