JDRF and Lilly advance stem cell-based therapy research in Canada with new fellowship


Dr. Rangarajan Sambathkumar

Toronto, ON, May 14, 2020 – Dr. Rangarajan Sambathkumar, a pioneering young investigator at the University Health Network in Toronto, has been awarded a second post-doctoral fellowship ($60,000) for his stem cell research, based on an ongoing collaboration between JDRF Canada and Eli Lilly Canada Inc. (Lilly Canada).

Established in 2013, the partnered program that funds new and innovative research is called the JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (CCTN) Eli Lilly Post-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Translation in Type 1 Diabetes. Under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Cristina Nostro, Dr. Sambathkumar has been working on improving beta cell maturation from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) using in vitro genetic engineering for the development of a cell-based therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Human stem cells may be the key to large-scale beta cell replacement therapy since they can divide indefinitely.

In recent years, there has been significant progress in the generation of insulin-producing beta-like cells from various stem cell lines. Dr. Sambathkumar’s current JDRF and Lilly-funded study will advance this promising new area of research in diabetes. With the creation of better beta cells for transplantation, this research may contribute to beta cell replacement therapies that could one day cure T1D.

“Diabetes research continues to break boundaries every day. It is the current work of our scientists and researchers that has the potential to make tremendous improvements in the lives of people with diabetes,” says Dr. Joanne Lorraine, Diabetes Medical Director at Lilly Canada. “Lilly is pleased to support post-doctoral fellows who make important contributions for patients.”


About JDRF Canada

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, governments, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout Canada and six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.

About Eli Lilly Canada (Lilly Canada): 

Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people’s needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to people who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world’s first commercially-available insulin. Our work focuses on oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at www.lilly.ca.

For our perspective on issues in healthcare and innovation, follow us on twitter @LillyPadCA. 

For more information:

Soledad Vega
National Marketing and Communications Manager
JDRF Canada
Phone: 647-459-7881 
Email: svega@jdrf.ca   


Ethan Pigott
Communications Manager
Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Phone: 416-770-5843
Email: pigott_ethan@network.lilly.com






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