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December 22, 2016

Penn Medicine awarded $12 million federal grant for pancreas research

Effort could benefit those with diabetes

Researchers at Penn Medicine received a multi-million dollar federal grant to fund its new program to study the human pancreas.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System announced Wednesday that its Human Pancreas Analysis Program will be established thanks to a four-year, $12 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The program will allow researchers to conduct an "unprecedented" investigation of the pancreas and benefit people with diabetes, as well as those at risk for the disease.

“The past decades have seen a dramatic improvement in our ability to profile human tissues relevant to Type 1 diabetes at the genomic, epigenomic, protein, and functional levels,” said Dr. Klaus H. Kaestner, associate director of the Penn Diabetes Research Center.

The program will focus on examining pancreatic tissues affected by Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, or other types of pancreatic islet dysfunction characterized by changes in beta cell mass.

Dr. Ali Naji, professor of surgery, will direct the program that will consist of six teams at Penn. The program will also collaborate with teams at the University of Florida and Vanderbilt University.

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