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Lilly and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Partner to Fund Regenerative Medicine Research in Type 1 Diabetes
Date:2/3/2011

INDIANAPOLIS and NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) today announced that they have signed an agreement to fund early-stage research that could enable patients with type 1 diabetes to regenerate insulin-producing cells destroyed by the disease.

"The goal of this research agreement is to understand how selected cells can be reprogrammed in order to convert them into insulin-producing cells in the body," said Philip Larsen, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer for diabetes drug discovery at Lilly. "This research is an example of regenerative medicine, a new frontier in science that replaces or regenerates new cells, tissues or organs, and while this particular research is early stage, it may ultimately lead to new approaches to treating type 1 diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells, stopping a person's pancreas from producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. According to JDRF, in the U.S. alone, as many as three million people have type 1 diabetes.(1)

One research approach to finding novel treatments for type 1 diabetes may be to restore insulin production by regenerating insulin-producing cells within a person's body. This involves triggering the body to grow its own new beta cells, either by growing existing ones – some are usually still active, even in people who have had diabetes for decades – or by creating new ones by reprogramming, which involves converting one type of cell in the body into a different type.  If a therapeutic is developed that will allow for the regeneration of beta cells, it could potentially eliminate the need for insulin.  

The JDRF-Lilly agreement will support a three-year, $1.4 million pre-cli
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