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IPITA 2017 Interviews

Interviews from the International Congress of The International Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association (IPITA)

Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation (DRWF) was the Diamond Sponsor of the 16th International Congress of The International Pancreas and Islet Transplantation Association (IPITA), held from 20th to 23rd June 2017 in Oxford.



Paul Johnson - Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM)

Professor Johnson is the Director of the Islet Transplant Programme.

Oxford has been one of the leading clinical and research centres for over 30 years and has always felt that it is vital to underpin the clinical service with a strong and innovative research programme.

In 2004, DRWF made an unprecedented grant to the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, for the provision of a Human Islet Isolation Facility.

The DRWF Human Islet Isolation Facility was launched in 2006 at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford. Housed within OCDEM, this facility harvests insulin producing islet cells from donor pancreas for research and transplant. It plays a pivotal role in the supply of islets within the UK Islet Transplant Consortium (UKITC) for the delivery of an NHS funded national therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Rae-Marie Lawson – Trustee DRWF

Retired Psychotherapist Rae-Marie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than 30 years ago and experienced a debilitating lack of hypo awareness which impacted on all aspects of her life. She received two islet cell transplants at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism (OCDEM) which houses the DRWF Human Islet Isolation Facility in 2010.

Professor Bernhard Hering - Schulze Diabetes Institute in Minneapolis

Internationally renowned for his expertise in islet cell transplantation Professor Hering’s research focuses on finding innovative cell-based therapies to restore blood glucose control and insulin independence for people with type 1 diabetes. Additionally, he is committed to exploring new sources of islet cells through xenotransplantation.

Islet cell transplants are limited in availability for a number of reasons, one of the main restrictions is the availability of suitable pancreas donations. With this in mind, DRWF, along with sister organisations in the US, Sweden and Finland, are supporting the work of Professor Bernhard Hering working in partnership with the Spring Point Project to seek an alternative, sustainable source of islet cells suitable for human transplant.

Tom Spizzo - Director of Operations Spring Point Project

Tom oversees the complex operational needs of Spring Point Project, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., the project is working to provide an unlimited source of pig islet cells to accelerate the availability and affordability of islet transplantation to cure diabetes. Spring Point Project and the Schulze Diabetes Institute of the University of Minnesota work in partnership to provide the source and science needed to move toward a cure for diabetes.


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