First Lady Announces $120 Million Allocation for Islet Research

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By: Sharon Kellaher

The federal government has said $120 million of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocated budget will be given to clinical trials of islet transplantation. On June 7, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the allocation, and kicked off the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Children’s Congress in Washington.

The money will go to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH. It will begin the Network for Clinical Research on Immune Tolerance, a group of several centers nationwide that will test potential antirejection therapies to replace current antirejection drugs. Antirejection therapies prevent the body from attacking transplanted islets and destroying them. The goal of these new clinical trials will be to find a therapy which has no side effects, unlike the drugs currently used.

It has not been established which therapies will be studied, as researchers are currently applying for a part of the $120 million. From these applications, the NIH will decide which routes to take. Once the various islet tolerance medications have been selected, clinical trials will be conducted.

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