Our Visit to UFDI

April 3, 2024

At Children with Diabetes, we believe in providing care today while we await a cure tomorrow. As we focus on caring for and supporting people with type 1 diabetes, we anxiously await news on the next big breakthrough in research. Our friends at the University of Florida Diabetes Institute have been at the forefront of diabetes research since the 1970s and continue to make strides every day that are leading to better treatments and an eventual cure for type 1 diabetes.

On March 25, I had the opportunity to tour the UFDI with our friends at Macey’s Believers. We began our day with an introduction to UFDI director, Dr. Mark Atkinson, as he took us back in history and showed us the progress that has been made in diabetes treatment and research at UF since the early 1960’s. Dr Atkinson also showed us many old diabetes “relics” that served as a physical reminder of how far we have come from the days of boiling urine to measure glucose to now having our glucose numbers on our cell phones.

We then spent the next few hours touring the different labs within UFDI. We learned about nPOD (LINK HERE) and what it means to be an organ donor as a person with diabetes. nPOD is currently the largest research project in diabetes and is housed right at UFDI, where Dr. Atkinson oversees the project. While in the labs, we saw how pancreatic tissue looks under a microscope and compared the tissue of someone with T1D and someone without. We learned how scientists can now use live human blood to create stem cells, which can then be modified into insulin-producing beta cells. We even got to hold a human pancreas in our hands!

Lastly, we spent lunch chatting with researchers, doctors, and students who have all dedicated their work to finding answers to the roots of T1D so that we can eventually cure it. We had a chance to learn about clinical trials currently in progress and more about treatments, like TZIELD (LINK HERE), that are now available to help delay the onset of T1D.

Thank you, UFDI, for giving us a glimpse into the work you are doing to end type 1 diabetes.

Until there is a cure…

Your Fiffle,

Written by Ashlyn Mills