Research History

1981

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Mary K. Iacocca Research Fellowship
  • In 1981, Lee and Mary Iacocca, established the Mary K. Iacocca Research Fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. This endowed Fellowship is now considered one of the most important research programs at the Joslin. It enables promising young researchers to continue their work on the causes, prevention and cure of diabetes.

1984

The Iacocca Family Foundation

  • The Iacocca Family Foundation is founded by Lee Iacocca in memory of his wife, Mary, who passed away after a lifelong battle with diabetes. Primary funding for the Foundation comes from the donation of all royalties from Mr. Iacocca’s autobiographical book, Iacocca. Mr. Iacocca sits on the Board of Trustees and his daughter, Kathryn, is President.

1985

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program is established by the Foundation for Chrysler employees. The program runs in conjunction with the Chrysler Corporation Fund Scholarship Program. Eligible recipients need to maintain 3.0 or higher GPA.

1986

Harvard Medical School

  • Mary K. Iacocca Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism
  • The Mary K. Iacocca Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism is established at Harvard Medical School. This endowed Chair will honor a distinguished investigator in the field of diabetes and will advocate teaching and inquiry in the nature and treatment of diabetes and related diseases. The inaugural recipient is C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., who continues to hold the chair to date.

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

1987

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

China Diabetes Program
Mary K. Iacocca Diabetes Research Foundation

  • The China Diabetes Program is established and all proceeds remain in China to be used for diabetes research under the China-Mary K. Iacocca Diabetes Research Foundation.

1988

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

1989

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

1990

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

Susan Harling Robinson Fellowship in Diabetes Research

  • Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Supports postdoctoral fellowship training for creative and compassionate professionals who will work on the forefront of diabetes education, research, and patient care

1991

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Mary K. Iacocca Director of the Laboratory of Advanced Genetic Technologies
  • This fund provides support to Joslin’s research program, ‘Diabetes and the Genome,’ and funds the Mary K. Iacocca Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Genetic Technologies.
  • Conference on Pancreatic Beta-Cell: Gene to Disease

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Keystone Symposium: Diabetes and Insulin Action
  • Grant was given to further scientific exchange, as well as to increase awareness of the Foundation’s involvement in diabetes research.

1992

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

1993

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Conference on Vascular Complications of Diabetes Mellitus

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program, which was established in 1985, is continued.

1994

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Mary K. Iacocca Senior Visiting Research Fellowship
  • This endowed fund is established through a gift made by the Chrysler Corporation Fund in honor of Lee Iacocca and his considerable philanthropic contributions to funding diabetes research. It is designated solely for fellowships in diabetes research.

Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program

  • This marks the final year of the scholarship program for Chrysler employees, which ran in conjunction with the Chrysler Corporation Fund Scholarship Program. 43 scholars maintained a 3.0 or higher cumulative average and graduated. The program ended coinciding with Mr. Iacocca’s retirement from Chrysler.

1995

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation funds three-year research program with human diabetic lymphocytes from type 1 diabetics to see if a pathway for autoreactivity that is interrupted in diabetic mice is similarly interrupted in diabetic humans. This may lead to understanding how and why there is an attack on the islet cells in type 1 diabetes.

1996

Lehigh University

  • The Iacocca Institute Executive Education Program
  • The Iacocca Institute Executive Education program is established at Lehigh University. Its two primary directives are to help industry help itself to be more competitive and to educate a competitive workforce for today and tomorrow.

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation continues three-year program verifying human diabetics have the same protein defects in their lymphocytes. This human project is obligatory to verify the diabetic mouse work reflects human disease and could some day be translated to human disease.

Dr. Camillo Ricordi

  • Diabetes Research Institute
  • Tolerance Induction using Bone Marrow before Islet Transplantation

1997

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation support verifies that human diabetic lymphocytes have a protein defect that exactly mirrors the lymphocyte defect in diabetic mice. This allows the initiation of logical treatment studies in diabetic mice to see if the disease can be modified.

Dr. Jerry Nadler

  • City of Hope National Medical Center
  • Grant to study prevention of the development of type 1 diabetes and the ability to reverse diabetes using islet cell transplantation.

Dr. Willa Hsueh

  • UCLA Medical Center
  • Grant to study how insulin resistance relates to coronary heart disease and hypertension, as well as working with insulin sensitizers, which can prevent the development of vascular complications – both in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand.

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Symposium on Insulin Receptors & Insulin Action

1998

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation moves two projects forward in Faustman lab on type 1 diabetes. Iacocca Foundation initiates 4-year study to attempt to reverse end-stage type 1 diabetes; human diabetic lymphocyte studies continue to verify human diabetics have same defects as mice.

Dr. Jerry Nadler

  • City of Hope National Medical Center
  • Grant to study prevention of the development of type 1 diabetes and the ability to reverse diabetes using islet cell transplantation.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand.

Dr. Rita Bortell

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Dr. Rita Bortell receives the Career Development Award. Her studies involve genetics of autoimmunity; role of venular endothelium in diabetes; tolerance in autoimmunity and islet transplantation.

Dr. Tom Markees

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Dr. Tom Markees studying genetics of autoimmunity; role of venular endothelium in diabetes; tolerance in autoimmunity and islet transplantation.

1999

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • The Mary K. Iacocca Faculty Fellowship Program
  • This endowed fund is established to bring highly skilled individuals who are not already in the field of diabetes to work in the field of diabetes to work and study along with senior faculty members at Joslin for one year.

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation funds research working with end-stage diabetic mice, a model where no therapeutic interventions have been effective.

Dr. Jerry Nadler

  • University of Virginia
  • Grant to study the prevention of immune mediated pancreatic beta cell destruction through gene therapy.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • First stage human clinical trials in islet transplantation.
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand.

Dr. Alberto Hayek

  • The Whittier Institute
  • Grant to study the development of the growing/reproduction of islet cells, in vitro, for transplantation as a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Willa Hsueh

  • UCLA Medical Center
  • Grant to study how insulin resistance relates to coronary heart disease and hypertension, as well as working with insulin sensitizers, which can prevent the development of vascular complications – both in type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Rita Bortell

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Dr. Rita Bortell receives the Career Development Award. Her studies involve genetics of autoimmunity; role of venular endothelium in diabetes; tolerance in autoimmunity and islet transplantation.

Dr. Tom Markees

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Dr. Tom Markees studying genetics of autoimmunity; role of venular endothelium in diabetes; tolerance in autoimmunity and islet transplantation.

2000

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation funds research working with lymphocytes in understanding how and why they attack the islet cells in Type 1 diabetes and how this process can be stopped through cellular pathways. Dr. Faustman at Board meeting announced that the first therapy to reverse end-stage diabetes in the mouse was performed.

Dr. Joan W. Miller

  • Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
  • Grant to study overcoming diabetic retinopathy through the reversal of leukocyte adhesion, prevention of neovascularization and through the development of new surgical/laser techniques.

Dr. Jerry Nadler

  • University of Virginia
  • Grant to study the prevention of immune mediated pancreatic beta cell destruction through gene therapy.

Dr. Ellen Seely

  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Study on how diabetic women can have children while minimizing the inherent health risks to both mother and child.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand.

Dr. Rita Bortell

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Dr. Rita Bortell receives the Career Development Award. Her studies involve RT6 molecule in Type 1 diabetes.

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry is established.
  • The mission is to bring 75 young business leaders to the Lehigh campus for six weeks each year. These young leaders represent more than 82 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America and Europe. Through company projects, executive meetings, and interactive courses they gain leadership and entrepreneurial skills, business and industry knowledge, and an understanding of other cultures.

2001

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation funds research that leads to a top journal publication demonstrating that for the first time end-stage diabetes can be reversed in terminally ill diabetic mice. The therapy for these mice is the first ever to affect a “cure”. The first data showing islet regeneration is Iacocca sponsored research.

Dr. Ellen Seely

  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Study on how diabetic women can have children while minimizing the inherent health risks to both mother and child.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand.

Dr. Rita Bortell

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Dr. Rita Bortell receives the Career Development Award. Her studies involve RT6 molecule in Type 1 diabetes.

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one faculty member receives financial support.

Massachusetts General Hospital

  • In 2001, the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School do a press release announcing the first permanent reversal of type 1 diabetes in a severely diabetic mouse by a new protein approach to disease treatment. Surprisingly the therapy eliminates the need for islet transplantation by revealing the remarkable ability of the formerly diabetic animal to re-grow their pancreas.

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital

  • The Foundation funds five research fellows at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to investigate ways to prevent and treat diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness. A molecule called angiopoietin-1 is demonstrated to prevent and reverse early diabetic retinopathy. These findings were published in the American Journal of Pathology, May 2002.

2002

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Foundation sponsored laboratory work continues to expand the discovery of islet regeneration and works to identify what may be the first adult stem cell that can regenerate the pancreas.

Dr. David Sutherland

  • Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation (DITT) – University of Minnesota Medical School
  • The Foundation supports three Mary K. Iacocca Fellows at the Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation, directed by David E.R. Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D., to further the DIIT’s approach to minimizing immunosuppressive medications and maximizing the output of insulin producing tissue.

Dr. Alberto Hayek

  • The Whittier Institute
  • Completed study the development of an growing/reproduction of islet cells, in vitro, for transplantation as a cure for type I diabetes.

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Induction of immune tolerance with the combination of cells & anti-CD40 ligand

Dr. Walter Willett

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Mary K. Iacocca Fellowship in Molecular Genetics & Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Study examining whether through changes in lifestyle, people could change their predisposition to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Philip J. DiIorio

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Study involved zebra fish; islet death

Dr. Leo P. Krall

  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Symposium: Discovery of Targets and Therapeutics for Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes and Complications

Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO)

  • Symposium: The Eye & The Chip 2002 — for cortical implants to help treat blindness resulting from diabetes
  • The Foundation awards the DIO a major grant to support The Eye and The Chip, a gathering of 35 of the world’s leading experts on the wedding, which will one day occur, between nano-electronics and neuro-biology.

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one faculty member receives financial support.

2003

Dr. Denise Faustman

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Working with lymphocytes in understanding how & why they attack the islet cells in type 1 diabetes and how this process can be stopped through genetics, cellular pathways and gene therapy.
  • SCIENCE publishes Iacocca sponsored data of Dr. Faustman’s discovery of two forms of islet regeneration in end stage diabetic mice.

Dr. David Sutherland

  • Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation (DITT) – University of Minnesota Medical School
  • The Foundation supports three Mary K. Iacocca Fellows at the Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation, directed by David E.R. Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D., to further the DIIT’s approach to minimizing immunosuppressive medications and maximizing the output of insulin producing tissue.

Joslin Diabetes Center

  • Symposium: Evading Beta Cell Death in Diabetes: Prevention & Transplantation

Dr. Walter Willett

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Mary K. Iacocca Fellowship in Molecular Genetics & Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Study examining whether through changes in lifestyle, people could change their predisposition to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Dr. Philip J. DiIorio

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Study involved zebra fish; islet death

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2004

Brian H. Annex, M.D.

  • Duke University Medical School
  • Therapeutic Angiogenesis and Diabetes Mellitus
  • Investigate the influence that diabetes mellitus has on an emerging investigational therapy, called therapeutic angiogenesis

Denise Faustman, M.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research Program and Human Clinical Program
  • Develop novel methods to treat type 1 diabetes and provide long-lasting relief and perhaps even permanent reversal. The Iacocca research program at MGH expands the discovery work on islet regeneration and begins the arduous task of developing a human assay to similarly identify these defects in humans for a clinical trial.

Susan E. Kirk, M.D.

  • University of Virginia
  • Role of Placental Growth Hormone in Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Gain important information regarding the pathologic actions of PGH in diabetic kidney disease and to determine whether or not these changes can be prevented.

Dr. Laurence Loubiere

  • Fred Hutchinsin Cancer Research Center
  • Functional Significance of Maternal Microshimeric Cells in Type 1 Diabetes

Aldo Rossini, M.D.

  • University of Massachusetts
  • Heat Shock Proteins in the Pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes

Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D

  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Cellular sources of beta cell replacement for type 1 diabetes
  • Identify and characterize in adult animals potential cellular sources of B cell replacement, using experimental mouse models of pancreatic islet destruction.

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Role of Inflammatory/Stress Pathway & FABPs in type 2 diabetes Susceptibility
  • Link the variations to pathological states and apply this knowledge to human populations.

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2005

Denise Faustman, M.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research Program and Human Clinical Program
  • Continuation of funding

Susan E. Kirk, M.D.

  • University of Virginia
  • Role of Placental Growth Hormone in Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Continuation of funding

Aldo Rossini, M.D.

  • University of Massachusetts
  • Heat Shock Proteins in the Pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D

  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Cellular sources of beta cell replacement for type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Walter C. Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Role of Inflammatory/Stress Pathway & FABPs in type 2 diabetes Susceptibility
  • Continuation of funding

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2006

Lawrence Chan, M.D.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Induced Islet Neogenesis to Reverse type I diabetes
  • Restore normal islets to an individual whose own islets have been destroyed, and prevent the newly restored islets from being destroyed by autoimmunity

Denise Faustman, M.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research Program and Human Clinical Program
  • Continuation of funding

Denise Faustman, M.D. (Join Lee Now Funding)

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Preparation for Human Clinical trial to stop the autoimmune attack in type 1 diabetes

Maja Maric, Ph.D.

  • Georgetown University
  • Identification of GILT – specific small inhibitory molecule
  • Identify inhibitory molecule that will slow down or stop the self-destruction of B-cells in pancreas by autoimmune T cells

Jerry Nadler, M.D.

  • University of Virginia
  • Clinical trial to test drug combination as therapy in type 1 diabetes

Karen Peterson

  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Coast to coast childhood obesity project

Morris F. White, Ph.D.

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Identification of drugs that promote regeneration of human islets
  • Focused on the identification of small molecules that increase the expression and synthesis of IRS2 in human islets, preferably B-cells

Dana Hall School Nutrition & Wellness Program (Endowment)

  • Dana Hall School for Girls
  • Endowed fund for Health & Wellness Programs
  • Encourage girls to develop lifelong, healthy living habits, focus on prevention and early identification of health issues, and to make positive life-changing choices

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2007

Lawrence Chan, M.D.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Induced Islet Neogenesis to Reverse type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Denise Faustman, M.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research Program
  • Continuation of funding

Denise Faustman, M.D. (Join Lee Now Funding)

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Preparation for Human Clinical trial to stop the autoimmune attack in type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Maja Maric, Ph.D.

  • Georgetown University
  • Identification of GILT – specific small inhibitory molecule
  • Continuation of funding

Dr. Aldo Rossini

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Heat shock proteins in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Dana Hall School Nutrition & Wellness Program (Endowment)

  • Dana Hall School for Girls
  • Endowed fund for Health & Wellness Programs
  • Continuation of funding

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2008

Lawrence Chan, M.D.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Developing a potential curative therapy for autoimmune type 1 diabetes
  • Try to modulate the autoimmune destruction of the neo-islet cells using a cytokine-based treatment regimen (IL-4 and or IL-10).

Nika N. Danial, Ph.D.

  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Survival and metabolic benefits of BAD BHS phosphor-mimetic strategies in islet
  • Mimic BAD’s function through genetic and novel chemistry approaches that concomitantly block beta cell apoptosis and enhance insulin secretion in order to garner physiological benefits during islet transplantation

Soumitra Ghosh, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Identification of natural regulatory T cells among CD4+CD25+high in type 1 diabetes
  • To find a surface marker on CD4+CD25+high T cells that is more specific for natural regulatory T cells (Treg) and to help with future studies in type 1 diabetes

Denise Faustman, M.D. (Join Lee Now Funding)

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Preparation for Human Clinical trial to stop the autoimmune attack in type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Harold H. Karpman

  • Cardiovascular Research Foundation
  • Cardiovascular risk in young adults with type 2 diabetes
  • Initiate a strategically focused clinical research program aimed at identifying the propensity for young diabetics to develop early onset coronary artery disease

Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D.

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • In vitro differentiation of insulin-secreting beta cells from induced human pluripotent stem cells
  • Establish new sources of B-cells by promoting pancreatic differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells

Zhongmin Alex Ma, Ph.D.

  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Characterizing the role of bioactive lipid mediators in beta-cell expansion

Jerry Nadler, M.D.

  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Clinical trial to test drug combination as therapy in type 1 diabetes

Klearchos Papas, Ph.D.

  • University of Minnesota
  • Tissue engineering for islet transplantation
  • Develop a treatment for type I diabetes using islet cell allo- and xeno- transplantation

Mina Peshavaria, PhD

  • University of Vermont
  • Pdx1-Mediated mechanisms regulating B-cell growth
  • Identify the signaling pathways that regulate the growth, proliferation and survival of insulin producing B-cells in mice haplodeficient for Pdx1, a homeodomain transcription factor essential for pancreas development and B-cell growth and function

Govindarajan Rajagopalan, Assistant Professor, Immunology

  • Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • HLA class II molecules, dietary gluten and pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes
  • Investigate the role of gluten, a common dietary antigen, in the etiopathogenesis of type 1 diabetes

Doris Stouffers, M.D., Ph.D.

  • University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
  • Modulation of autoimmunity in NOD mice
  • Growth and function of pancreatic beta cells, which produce the insulin needed to keep blood sugar levels normal

David Warburton, DSc, MD, FRCP, FRCS

  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Islet replacement using amniotic fluid stem cells
  • Test the hypothesis that AFS cells can survive, integrate, and differentiate in vivo, with the purpose of rescuing a damaged pancreas

Morris F. White, Ph.D.

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Identification of drugs that promote regeneration of human islets
  • Continuation of funding

Bayhill Therapeutics

  • Bayhill Therapeutics, founded in 2001, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging its proprietary therapeutic BHT-DNA™ platform to develop a pipeline of novel and targeted treatment candidates for autoimmune diseases.  The Iacocca Family Foundation made this investment demonstrating its’ commitment to funding ground-breaking clinical research and to the development of novel therapeutics that can potentially have an important impact on the lives of people with diabetes.

Dana Hall School Nutrition & Wellness Program (Endowment)

  • Dana Hall School for Girls
  • Endowed fund for Health & Wellness Programs
  • Continuation of funding

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2009

Lawrence Chan, M.D.

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Developing a potential curative therapy for autoimmune type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Nika N. Danial, Ph.D.

  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Survival and metabolic benefits of BAD BHS phosphor-mimetic strategies in islet
  • Continuation of funding

Soumitra Ghosh, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Identification of natural regulatory T cells among CD4+CD25+high in type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D.

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • In vitro differentiation of insulin-secreting beta cells from induced human pluripotent stem cells
  • Continuation of funding

Zhongmin Alex Ma, Ph.D.

  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Characterizing the role of bioactive lipid mediators in beta-cell expansion
  • Continuation of funding

Klearchos Papas, Ph.D.

  • University of Minnesota
  • Tissue engineering for islet transplantation
  • Continuation of funding

Mina Peshavaria, PhD

  • University of Vermont
  • Pdx1-Mediated mechanisms regulating B-cell growth
  • Continuation of funding

Govindarajan Rajagopalan, Assistant Professor, Immunology

  • Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • HLA class II molecules, dietary gluten and pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding

Doris Stouffers, M.D., Ph.D.

  • University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
  • Modulation of autoimmunity in NOD mice
  • Continuation of funding

David Warburton, DSc, MD, FRCP, FRCS

  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Islet replacement using amniotic fluid stem cells
  • Continuation of funding

Dana Hall School Nutrition & Wellness Program (Endowment)

  • Dana Hall School for Girls
  • Endowed fund for Health & Wellness Programs
  • Continuation of funding

Aldo Rossini, M.D.

  • Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Junior Research Fellow
  • Matching grant

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2010

David Gracias, Associate Professor

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Fabrication and characterization of a lithographically structured bio-artificial pancreas
  • Create a prototype bio-artificial pancreas and thoroughly characterize it by measuring insulin secretion as well as immunoisolation characteristics using in vitro assays, and compare these metrics to present day devices

Robert Intine, Ph.D.

  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Discovering the molecular mechanisms of metabolic memory
  • Reveal the underlying molecular mechanisms of metabolic memory with ultimate goal of therapeutic target identification to reverse this process

Boris Musset, Ph.D.

  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Strong glucose dependence of reactive oxygen species production (electron current) in human monocytes
  • Understand the biophysical basis that underlies glucose dependent ROS production in monocytes, endothelial and smooth muscle cells

Jerry Nadler, M.D.

  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Novel combination therapy to reverse type 1 diabetes
  • Perform a short-term pilot study using Lisofylline alone and in combination with Exendin-4 in subjects with type 1 diabetes

Mina Peshivaria, Research Assistant Professor

  • University of Vermont
  • Role of AMPK in pancreatic B-cell growth and survival
  • Use genetic mouse models to test the role of AMP Kinase and mTOR signaling pathway in growth, proliferation and survival of pancreatic beta cells when levels of the classical insulin signaling pathway intermediates are reduced

Defu Zeng, M.D.

  • The Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope
  • Reversal of refractory late-stage diabetes in autoimmune NOD mice
  • Develop a curative therapy for refractory type 1 diabetes via reversal of autoimmunity and augmentation of B cell regeneration, using combination therapy of induction of mixed chimerism and administration of growth factors in late-stage diabetic NOD mice

Kineta, Inc.

  • Kineta, Inc. was formed in December 2007.  Kineta’s team of scientists is developing new innovative therapies that tap into naturally present innate and adaptive immune functions for the treatment of infectious and autoimmune diseases. Kineta has an aggressive strategy to move novel early stage products into the clinical pipeline. The Iacocca Family Foundation made an investment to help bring their new T1DM therapy to clinic.  This preclinical drug candidate is focused on multiple autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis.

Lehigh University

  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry
  • 3 Global Village scholarships are granted for Future Leaders of Business & Industry and one administrator/guide receives financial support.

2011

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes.  In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years.  This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control. These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects. The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

Dr. David Gracias, Associate Professor

  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Fabrication and characterization of lithographically structured bio-artificial pancreas
  • Continuation of funding. Use lithographic processes that have revolutionized the microelectronics industry to precisely structure a three dimensional bio-artificial pancreas from the nano to the macro scale. This precision is combined with novel self-assembly and molecular surface modification methods to create a device that facilitates adequate diffusion to transplanted islet cells while also enabling immunoisolation.

Dr. Philip Hessburg

  • Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology
  • The Eye and the Auto Symposium

Boris Musset, Ph.D.

  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Strong glucose dependence of reactive oxygen species production (electron current) in human monocytes
  • Continuation of funding. Understand the biophysical basis that underlies glucose dependent ROS production in monocytes, endothelial and smooth muscle cells.

Jerry Nadler, M.D.

  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Novel combination therapy to reverse type 1 diabetes
  • Continuation of funding. Perform a short-term pilot study using Lisofylline alone and in combination with Exendin-4 in subjects with type 1 diabetes.

James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Boston Biomedical Research Institute
  • Accelerating Industrial Development of Bioengineered Stem Cell Transplantation Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes
  • Developed a method for expanding adult human pancreatic stem cells in culture. The expanded stem cells produce differentiated progeny cells with both alpha-cell and beta-cell properties, indicating potential to produce pancreatic islets after transplantation into the body. The team will work to adapt the expansion of the new stem cells to defined culture media that are suitable for future clinical evaluations; and working to engage clinical partners for this purpose. A major focus of the research will also be evaluation of the properties of the cells after transplantation into experimental mouse models and continued bioengineering of the cells to enhance their transplantability and pancreatic functions.

Defu Zeng, M.D.

  • The Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope
  • Reversal of refractory late-stage diabetes in autoimmune NOD mice
  • Continuation of funding. Develop a curative therapy for refractory type 1 diabetes via reversal of autoimmunity and augmentation of B cell regeneration, using combination therapy of induction of mixed chimerism and administration of growth factors in late-stage diabetic NOD mice.

2012

Elliot Botvinick, Ph.D.

  • University of California, Irvine
  • Two Phase approach to Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplantation
  • Development of a novel subcutaneous implant that is vascularized prior to the introduction of pancreatic islets.

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Continuation of funding. Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes.  In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years.  This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control. These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects.The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

Alan Frey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cell Biology

  • New York University School of Medicine
  • Novel Therapy for Type 1 diabetes
  • Seeking to identify novel antigens that elicit T cell immune response that kill pancreatic beta cells in the NOD mouse model. We will use that knowledge to design biological reagents to inactivate those T cells specifically, leaving the body’s remaining immune cells intact. Thus, we intend to eliminate the T cells that cause disease therein creating an environment that is more suitable for islet replacement or the natural regeneration of islet cells.

Bernhard Hering, M.D.

  • University of Minnesota
  • Transgenic Pig Islet Xenografts in Non-human Primates

Robert Intine, Ph.D.

  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Discovering the Molecular Mechanism of Metabolic Memory
  • Metabolic memory is the phenomenon by which diabetic complications persist and progress unimpeded even after glucose control is achieved through exercise or medication. Our lab focuses on defining the underlying molecular mechanisms that cause metabolic memory with the ultimate goal of therapeutic agent identification to reverse this process.

James Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Boston Biomedical Research Institute
  • Accelerating Industrial Development of Bioengineered Stem Cell Transplantation Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes
  • Continuation of Funding.  Dr. Sherley and team of scientists in the Adult Stem Cell Technology Center at BBRI are working to adapt the expansion of the new stem cells to defined culture media that are suitable for future clinical evaluations; and working to engage clinical partners for this purpose.

2013

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Continuation of funding. Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes.  In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years.  This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control.  These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects.  The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

Alexander Chervonsky, M.D., Ph.D.

  • University of Chicago
  • Prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes with dendritic cells lacking Fas
  • The loss of the death receptor CD95 (also known as Fas or Apo-1) by dendritic cells (important for activation of many immune responses) leads to systemic autoimmunity. Paradoxically, the same loss led to protection from type 1 diabetes. Further experiments have shown that extended survival of CD95-deficient dendritic cells expands negative regulators of autoimmunity and can be used to prevent diabetes development.

Christiane Ferran, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center
  • Transdifferentiation of liver resident cells into glucose-sensitive insulin producing cells: a novel strategy for beta cell replacement in type 1 diabetes
  • This work is based on the discovery that delivery of a certain gene to the liver of diabetic mice allows long-term cure of diabetes through the likely development of insulin producing cells. The goals of the work is to confirm these data, check the resistance of these neo-islets to autoimmune destruction.

Michael German, M.D. and Luc Baeyens, Ph.D.

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Mechanisms controlling pancreas development and regeneration
  • Identified Geminin, a coiled-coil protein known for regulating neuronal differentiation, as an important novel mediator of Neurogenin3 expression during endocrine development in the murine pancreas. Loss of Geminin resulted in the absence of endocrine differentiation.

David Piston, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

  • Vanderbilt University
  • Reversal of Type 1 Diabetes Without Insulin
  • Pursuing their recent discovery towards an alternate treatment for type 1 diabetes without daily insulin injections. In mice, type 1 diabetes can be reversed by transplanting brown fat (sometimes referred to as “good” fat) into the sick animal. This reversal of diabetes appears to be permanent, and does not require any further intervention – no regular glucose testing, no insulin shots, and no other drugs. The first animals from this study are still healthy at ages over 18 months (old age for laboratory mice). The Piston lab is testing the hypothesis that some chemical(s) coming from the transplanted brown fat cells decrease inflammation in the recipient’s fat and liver. Reduced inflammation restores those tissues, allowing them to produce enough sugar-controlling hormones to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The long term goal of this work is to develop an effective human clinical treatment for type 1 diabetes. Based on the results so far, a speculative treatment would begin with a patient donating a tissue sample that contains precursors of brown fat cells. Those brown fat cells would be grown in the lab, and then reintroduced into the patient, perhaps even as an injection under the skin rather than a more complicated transplant procedure. If successful, this would be the only needed treatment for that patient.

Sasanka Ramanadham, Ph.D.

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Countering lipid-mediated immune response to prevent beta-cell death and Type 1 Diabetes
  • Focused on understanding the role lipid signals derived from beta-cells play in beta-cell survival.  Our long-term goal is to determine whether inhibition of generation of lipids derived via activation of a Ca2+-independent phospholipase A2 can alleviate beta-cell death, thus ameliorating the onset and/or progression of type 1 diabetes.

Li Wen, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Yale University
  • Dampening diabetogenic commensal bacteria to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes
  • Environmental factors including gut microbes play an important role in type 1 diabetes onset (T1D).  Using a mouse model associated with innate immunity and killer T cells (killing insulin producing beta cells), we found that innate immunity influences gut bacteria, some of which promote killer T cells to cause very rapid diabetes. The knowledge gained from our study will benefit both patients with T1D and the scientific community by providing a new therapeutic direction.

2014

Peter Buchwald, Ph.D.

  • University of Miami
  • Targeting TGF- ß/I-Smad to Reverse New Onset Diabetes
  • Investigating the possibility of reversing new-onset diabetes by targeting Smad7, a novel therapeutic target that is negative feedback regulator of TGF-β signaling. Pilot studies in the NOD mouse model gave very promising results as reversal of hyperglycemia was obtained in more than half of the treated animals and this persisted long-term even after treatment was stopped. The current research supported by The Iacocca Foundation is focused on establishing dosing and timing requirements, as well as on investigating the possibility that this treatment can not only control the immune attack, but also increase beta-cell mass and restore insulin production.

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Continuation of funding. Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes.  In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years.  This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control.  These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects.  The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

David Piston, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

  • Vanderbilt University
  • Reversal of Type 1 Diabetes Without Insulin
  • Continuation of funding. Completed detailed chemical assays on blood samples from successfully treated animals.  The results showed that IGF-1 increases to normal levels and glucagon decreases back to its normal levels within a few weeks after the brown fat transplants – the same time as we see reversal of other type 1 diabetes symptoms.  These data are important since IGF-1 can activate the insulin receptor, especially in the absence of insulin, and because reduction of glucagon by leptin treatment has been shown to reverse some aspects of diabetes.  The lab is continuing to optimize and increase the efficacy of tissue-culture (i.e., cells grown in the lab) brown fat cell transplants with a focus on the role of IGF-1 as a critical mediator in the early changes following brown fat cell transplants.  They are also searching for the chemical signal(s) that arise from the brown fat and communicate with the transplant recipient.  Based on these new results, a novel clinical treatment plan based on drug treatments that affect IGF-1 and glucagon may be possible.  Over the near term, pursuit of these potential drug treatments may be a more straight-forward path towards human therapy than a brown fat cell transplant, even if the latter proves to be more efficacious in the long-run.

Alice Tomei, Research Assistant Professor

  • University of Miami
  • Unraveling the role of CCL21 and lymphoid stromal cells in preventing autoimmune diabetes
  • Focusing on immunoengineering islets for transplantation without immunosuppression and in identifying novel mechanisms for developing therapeutics to counteract autoimmunity. During her post-doctoral work, Dr. Tomei investigated how tumors evade destruction by the immune system with the goal of using this “escape mechanism” to protect insulin-producing cells. Tomei and her team found and published that tumors secrete the molecule CCL21, which is naturally found in all lymphoid organs. CCL21 autologous secretion by tumor cells induces a lymph node-like environment within which tumor cells are protected against the attacks of the immune system. Dr. Tomei has performed additional studies and found that CCL21 expression in beta cells (the insulin-producing cell component within islets) completely prevents type 1 diabetes in experimental models and is also associated with lymph node mimicry in the pancreas. This funding award will allow Dr. Tomei to build upon this groundbreaking research in the effort of unraveling the role of CCL21 and lymph node mimicry on protecting against autoimmunity.

2015

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Continuation of funding. Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes. In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years. This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control. These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects. The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

2016

Teresa P. DiLorenzo, Ph.D.

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Establishment of Tolerance to Proinsulin to Prevent or Reverse Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when the T cells of the immune system kill the pancreatic beta cells and insulin can no longer be made.  Suppressing all of the T cells of the body could prevent, or even reverse, type 1 diabetes.  However, suppression of all of the T cells would lead to serious side effects such as an increased susceptibility to infections and cancer.  The DiLorenzo laboratory seeks to suppress only those T cells that are responsible for destroying the beta cells.  These T cells bind beta cell peptides that activate the T cells and cause them to destroy the beta cells.  This work hopes to harness dendritic cells to help in the silencing of the disease-causing T cells.  Under certain conditions, dendritic cells can present peptides to T cells in a way that silences or eliminates them, thus rendering them harmless.  A beta cell protein can be delivered to dendritic cells by coupling it to an antibody that binds to DEC-205, which is a protein present on the surface of dendritic cells.  DEC-205 helps dendritic cells to take up the protein and present peptides to T cells.  In this project, the beta cell protein proinsulin will be delivered to dendritic cells, because proinsulin is an important target of the disease-causing T cells.  By delivering proinsulin to dendritic cells, the lab hopes to eliminate the disease-causing T cells that recognize this protein.  They also hope to facilitate the development of T cells that can suppress the remaining pathogenic T cells.  They will use a new disease model that they have developed which will allow them to better predict the effects of proinsulin-linked anti-human DEC-205 treatment in humans.

Denise Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Basic Research and Clinical Research Program
  • Continuation of funding. Testing Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), an inexpensive generic drug, as a treatment for advanced type 1 diabetes. In a Phase I study, BCG was administered to adults who had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 15 years. This treatment not only helped eliminate the defective T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, it also temporarily restored the ability of the pancreas to produce small amounts of insulin. A Phase II trial is currently in process, again in individuals living with type 1 diabetes. The goal of these trials is to put advanced type 1 diabetes into remission by halting the immune attack on the pancreas and clinically improving blood sugar control. These are the first global trials using targeted immune interventions based on inducing host TNF to correct the immune defects and also performing these trials in people with disease, not only new onset subjects. The trials hope to allow individuals with type 1 diabetes to enjoy better blood sugar control and fewer diabetic complications.

Maike Sander, M.D.

  • University of California, San Diego
  • Validation of a new pharmacological target for increasing beta cell regeneration
  • Dr. Sander’s laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the formation and function of the diverse cell types of the pancreas, most notably the insulin-producing beta cells, which are affected in diabetes. Her laboratory aims to identify strategies for beta cell regeneration and replacement in order to develop novel treatments for diabetes. A central focus of Dr. Sander’s research is the discovery of pathways and molecules that stimulate beta cell growth. Since residual beta cells persist in patients with type 1 diabetes, drugs that stimulate expansion of residual beta cells could have significant clinical impact. The project supported by the Foundation seeks to investigate a novel signaling pathway that Dr. Sander’s laboratory found to stimulate beta cell proliferation.

Ivana Stojanovic, Ph.D.

  • Institute of Biological Research “Sinisa Stankovic”
  • Generation of insulin-specific T regulatory cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes
  • Dr. Stojanovic and her group explore novel approaches for generation of highly efficient and stable insulin-specific T regulatory cells that can be used for suppressing type 1 diabetes. The basic idea of this project is to utilize insulin-specific effector T cells (from NOD mice) that promote beta cell destruction and convert them in vitro into insulin-specific T regulatory cells using different manipulations. These manipulations include interference with specific signaling pathways crucial for effector phenotype of T cells, conversion of the metabolic state of the cells toward T regulatory phenotype, epigenetic modifications that promote activation of key genes for T regulatory cell phenotype, or combinations of the mentioned approaches. Finally, the efficiency of converted insulin-specific cells with T regulatory phenotype will be tested in the prophylactic or therapeutic time-frame in NOD mice. Hopefully, the results of this study will lead to shaping the fast and easy protocol for generation of highly-efficient and stable antigen-specific T regulatory cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes or autoimmunity in general.

Roland Tisch, Ph.D.

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Preclinical testing of humanized nondepleting anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 antibodies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes
  • The Tisch group has been studying nondepleting (ND) antibodies as an alternative approach to selectively block the activity of autoreactive T cells. The group has reported that a short course of ND anti-CD4 and -CD8 antibodies rapidly reverses diabetes in recent onset diabetic NOD mice, and prevents recurrent diabetes indefinitely while normal immunity is unperturbed. Work supported by the Foundation focuses on obtaining proof-of-principle that ND antibodies specific for human CD4 and CD8, recently established by the group, selectively suppress tissue destructive human T cells. To study these novel ND antibodies, humanized mice are being used. Experiments will define the effects of the ND anti-CD4 and CD8 antibodies on pathogenic human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The potency of these ND antibodies to protect human islet grafts transplanted into humanized mice will also be tested. If successful, the ND humanized anti-CD4 and -CD8 antibodies will be applicable for preventing diabetes in at risk individuals, rescue residual beta cells in new and longstanding type 1 diabetic patients, and enhance islet transplantation or other beta cell replacement strategies.

 

FURTHER PHILANTHROPIC GIFTS

The Iacocca Family Foundation is committed to making an impact in the world.  The Foundation has made many endowed gifts within the field of type 1 diabetes, as well as made several significant gifts, some of which are lasting gifts in other fields of interest, including:
  • The Chrysler Employee Scholarship Program was established in 1985 by the Foundation for Chrysler employees. The program ran in conjunction with the Chrysler Corporation Fund Scholarship Program. Eligible recipients needed to maintain 3.0 or higher GPA. This scholarship program ended coinciding with Mr. Iacocca’s retirement from Chrysler in 1994.
  • The Iacocca Institute Executive Education Program was established in 1996 at Lehigh University. Its two primary directives are to help industry help itself to be more competitive and to educate a competitive workforce for today and tomorrow.
  • The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry was established at Lehigh University in 2000. Its’ mission is to bring 75 young business leaders to the Lehigh campus for six weeks each year. These young leaders represent more than 82 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North and South America and Europe. Through company projects, executive meetings, and interactive courses they gain leadership and entrepreneurial skills, business and industry knowledge, and an understanding of other cultures.
  • The Dana Hall School Nutrition & Wellness Program was established at Dana Hall School for Girls in 2006. This endowed fund was established to encourage girls to develop lifelong, healthy living habits, focus on prevention and early identification of health issues, and to make positive life-changing choices.

Be the Cure

The Iacocca Family Foundation funds innovative and promising diabetes, primarily type 1 diabetes, research programs and projects that will lead to a cure for the disease and alleviate complications caused by it.