Dr. Xiao-Dong Chen Receives SAMF Funding for Collaborative Grant
September 12, 2019
The San Antonio Medical Foundation has awarded Dr. Xiao-Dong Chen, UT Health San Antonio Professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, and Dr. Astrid Cardona, UTSA Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, with a grant totaling $199,961 for a collaborative study that could enhance the treatment of diabetes and suppress the immune response in transplant patients.
Dr. Chen and Dr. Cardona were awarded funding based on their study proposal entitled “A new approach that preserves islet function and reduces immunogenicity for transplantation”. The proposal outlined their impending study to develop an innovative approach that will mimic the pancreatic microenvironment, using stem cells and a three-dimensional extracellular matrix. Within this environment, they plan to create large quantities of high-quality pancreatic cells, called islets. Pancreatic islets contain beta cells that produce the hormone insulin, which allows the body to regulate blood sugar. Dr. Chen’s and Dr. Cardona’s islets will also contain the added benefit of inhibiting the body’s natural immune response to them, allowing transplantation of these cells for diabetic treatment more successful.
If the study proves effective, two major issues in transplant biology would be overcome: donor shortage and life-long immunosuppression. The San Antonio Medical Foundation’s funding will facilitate and strengthen this important healthcare and bioscience collaboration combating the global public health challenge of diabetes.