Happy New Year.

I am asking for help with one of my New Year’s resolutionsaiding the Chicago Diabetes Project research to find a cure for diabetes. Currently, I am developing a mailing list for a February fundraiser and need names and contact information for potential patrons interested in learning first-hand about the latest developments.

Think about who you know personally who can help new and amazing research, which would replace insulin therapy with pancreatic islet cell transplantation as a universal treatment for diabetes… Then please send me their names and contact information immediately.

Some 170 million diabetics worldwide live with the many complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and amputations. Diabetes is the number one cause of death by disease. We need to find a cure now!

Dr. Jose Oberholzer, chief of transplantation at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, heads an elite team of physicians, molecular biologists, engineers, chemists, and dozens of researchers from four continents that are all working on this cure. Their goal is to increase the efficiency and availability of pancreatic islet cell transplants.

Clinical trials have been underway for several years with some patients remaining insulin-free for as long as 13 years. The therapy uses adult (not embryonic) cadaver cells. However, at present, patients still must take medications to prevent the rejection of the transplanted, insulin-producing cells,

This treatment focuses on type 1 diabetes and is offered to patients who cannot control their blood sugar by current methods or who fail to recognize when their blood sugar is dangerously low. Islet transplantation is limited by the number of organ donors available and the need for suppressing the immune system to prevent rejection.

However, with the potential availability of an unlimited cell source and avoidance of immunosuppressants, the treatment can be extended to most diabetics – the actual goal of Chicago Diabetes Project. Future islet transplants may consist of reproducible insulin-producing cells that are encapsulated to protect against assault from immune cells, allowing the patient to live with little or no dependence of anti-rejection or immunosuppressive medication.

Islet cell transplantation may represent the single most important medical advance since 1955 when Dr. Jonas Salk perfected the polio vaccine.

I really need your help! Please send me names, e-mails and home addresses of friends and family you believe should attend this most inspirational event.

Thank you. And again, happy new year!!!