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Advancing a Cure through Global Collaboration

The Chicago Diabetes Project is working to make islet cell transplantation a viable treatment option for diabetes. Based in Chicago at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Services, the Chicago Diabetes Project is a collection of scientists, researchers, physicians and surgeons spanning the globe who’s mission is to cure diabetes.


In the last few decades, a vast amount of scientific knowledge has been gathered dealing with how insulin-producing cells develop, function and survive in the average human body and how they become compromised and destroyed in patients with diabetes. In recent years, interest in diabetes has intensified on account of the nearing epidemic proportions: in 1985 there were 30 million diabetics; today that number has rocketed to more than 170 million. By 2025, diabetes is likely to affect 300 million people worldwide.


The need for a functional cure is critical. As a result of this ever-increasing epidemic, the Chicago Diabetes Project (CDP) has dedicated itself to create a functional cure for diabetes in the shortest possible time, based on the transplantation of immunoprotected, insulin-producing cells, without the need for long-term medications. By delivering a limitless source of pancreatic islet cells for transplantation in diabetic patients, members of the CDP team offer the nation’s 24 million diabetics, and patients throughout the world, a chance at living a normal and healthy life free of the management struggles of controlling diabetes. We are performing islet-cell transplants on Type 1 diabetic patients as part of a Phase 3 clinical trial being conducted by the Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium. This trial will bring us one important step closer to making islet-cell transplants standard medical care.


Our researchers across the world are making these transplants safer and more effective by researching cell encapsulation, which may help patients avoid the immunosuppressant drugs necessary after a transplant. We are also looking into cell regenesis, which will provide new islet cell sources and eventually eliminate the need for donor-cell transplants.

In 2004, the Washington Square Health Foundation developed the idea of having researchers from around the world come together to form the Chicago Diabetes Project, a group of highly qualified scientists and their teams who committed themselves to achieving a functional cure for diabetes as soon as possible.

Dr. José Oberholzer, the coordinator and director of cell transplantation at theUniversity of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, is the director of the Chicago Diabetes Project. Dr. Oberholzer and the other Chicago Diabetes Project leaders strongly believe that the scientific community has all the necessary ingredients to make cell-based therapy an option for the majority of diabetic patients.

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Funding Local Beneficiaries through Special Needs Awareness

Special Kids Network was founded in 1999, by Chad Coe who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs. Deeply affected by their own personal experience with a nephew with developmental disabilities, Chad and Debbie have galvanized an entire community in support of various organizations dedicated to serving children. 

Special Kids Network is an independent non-profit organization that was created to provide funding for programs that help children and young adults with special needs. Our mission is to create community awareness and raise funds in support of organizations who believe that every child and young adult, regardless of the nature of their background or disability, should be able to enjoy life to its fullest and to participate in the mainstream of their community. Proceeds will benefit Keshet's education, recreation, adult and residential programs providing life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities within their home communities.



To find out more about these organizations, please fill out the contact form below:

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