Lilly, JDRF enter research agreement

INDIANAPOLIS — Drug maker Eli Lilly and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation will fund research to find ways to regenerate insulin-producing cells in patients with Type 1 diabetes.

The two announced Thursday that ideas included finding ways to grow new insulin-producing cells within a person’s body. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks beta cells, the cells that allow the body to produce insulin. As many as 3 million people in the United States have Type 1 diabetes.

“The goal of this research agreement [between Eli Lilly and JDRF] is to understand how selected cells can be reprogrammed in order to convert them into insulin-producing cells in the body,” Lilly chief scientific officer for diabetes drug discovery Philip Larsen said. “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.”

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