DUARTE, Calif. — Even with the best possible management, type 1 diabetes negatively impacts health, lifespan and quality of life for the millions of people worldwide who have the disease. Two City of Hope researchers working to change that bleak outlook have recently received some significant help from the National Institutes of Health. Together, they’ve been awarded two grants totaling nearly $7.5 million to support their research into type 1 diabetes.
The larger grant, for almost $5 million, will establish a coordinating center for human islet research. As the principal investigator on the grant, Joyce Niland, Ph.D., Edward and Estelle Alexander Chair in Information Sciences at City of Hope, will lead the creation of the Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Coordinating Center. The center will promote communication and collaboration among current and future network researchers; John Kaddis, Ph.D. staff scientist in the Department of Information Sciences, serves as co-investigator.
The second grant, awarded to Kaddis and Niland as co-principal investigators, totals almost $2.5 million. It will help establish a bioinformatics center for the Human Islet Research Network that will organize and analyze the large volumes of data produced by network researchers and help scientists share their results in ways that accelerate their progress.
The new grants will enhance the ability of researchers across the country to gain ground against type 1 diabetes, Niland said. Already, Niland is head of the Integrated Islet Distribution Program at City of Hope, which assists a group of academic laboratories requiring islets for their basic science research in diabetes. She founded that program’s coordinating center, responsible for distributing human islets to researchers globally, most recently receiving an additional $15 million from the NIH two years ago.
“These grants will allow our teams to facilitate islet research aimed at developing new strategies to treat, prevent and cure diabetes. This avenue of research is a critical scientific priority, given the global pandemic of diabetes, a disease that can result in life-threatening complications,” Niland said. “The IIDP will interact closely with many of the HIRN investigators, so it is both a reflection of City of Hope’s leadership in diabetes research and the confidence that the NIH holds in the Department of Information Sciences that all three inter-related coordinating center grants have been awarded to this institution,” she added.
Kaddis was similarly enthusiastic about the potential of the grants to increase research into type 1 diabetes. “We are honored to be working with a remarkable set of researchers in four consortia across the country to which we will be providing both administrative and technological support,” he said. “Through these grants, City of Hope is poised to creatively and successfully meet the challenges associated with management and analysis of large and related scientific datasets using informatics approaches and tools.”
About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Antelope Valley and South Pasadena. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics.