About Us

The Foundation's Objectives

  • Support researchers developing therapy that will allow the growing number of insulin-dependent Australians to cease having to administer insulin every day of their lives.

  • Help educate the wider community about the development of therapies to over come the need for insulin for many young people with diabetes.

How We Do It

The ​foundation supports projects at various institutions:

The Diabetes Transplant Unit, Prince of Wales Hospital/ University of New South Wales

whose director was Prof. Bernie Tuch (2002-2009). 

   1. Research projects funded by the Foundation:

  • Development of human embryonic stem cell lines.

  • Isolation of insulin-producing cells (islets) from the pancreas of donor humans.

  • Placing human insulin-producing cells inside microcapsules to overcome the need for insulin injections in diabetic recipients.

  • Isolation and transplantation of human fetal pancreas as a therapy for diabetes.

2. Purchase equipment- encapsulation machine.

3. Development of teaching course on how to grow human embryonic stem cells.

4. Salary of Post-Doctoral Fellow- Dr. Marie Best.

5. Travel funds to support the further training of researchers (Dr. Jayne Foster and Dr. Wei Wu) and visiting research fellows (Dr. Anand Hardikar from India and A/Prof. Rennian Wang from Canada).

6. Scholarship for PhD studnets- Vijay Vaithilingam and Mathi Appavoo.

University of Western Australia

(2009-2011)

A research project to understand the molecular pathways involved in the differentiation of pancreatic progenitors, derived from human embryonic stem cells, into mature insulin- producing cells. 

Chief investigator- Prof. Grant Morhan.

Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (2010-2014)

  1. A research project to show that encapsulated pancreatic progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells will normalize the sugar levels of diabetic recipients. Chief investigator- Prof. Bernie Tuch.

  2. Scholarship for PhD student, at Monash University- Luke Carroll.

  3. Purchase of equipment.

The University of Sydney

(2015-2019)

  1. The Bioengineered Diabetes Therapy Project investigating the possibility that 3D printed scaffolds will enhance the ability of encapsulated insulin-producing cells to normalise sugar levels of diabetic recipients. The research project was conducted in collaboration with ARC Future Fellow, A/Prof. Tim Dargaville, of Queensland University of Technology. Chief investigators- Prof. Bernie Tuch and Dr. Auvro Mridha.

  2. Scholarship for PhD student, Luke Carroll, who relocated to The University of Sydney.   

University of Technology Sydney

  1. Studies in diabetic mice that are implanted with human insulin-producing cells seeded in a bioengineered device to determine if blood sugar levels can be normalized. Chief investigator- A/Prof. Hui Chen.

  2. Use of nanoparticles to cause local regulated release of immunomodulatory molecules, which may be of assistance in enhancing cell therapies for diabetes. Supported by the juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Chief investigator- Dr. Helen Xu.

The human-insulin-producing cells being used are obtained from the Israeli company Kadimastem Ltd. Sources of financial support for the project include the NSW Government, National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, Lions Diabetes Foundation and Gandel Philanthropy. It is planned to carry out a clinical trial in a small number of people with type 1 diabetes, using human cells seeded in a bioengineered device, with the objective of both safety and some efficacy.

More details can be found at:

9News Sydney- Diabetes Breakthrough

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