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Research initiative aims to better understand link between immunotherapy, type 1 diabetes

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, in collaboration with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Helmsley Charitable Trust, have formed a cancer and diabetes research initiative to better understand the association between immunotherapy treatment and subsequent risk for type 1 diabetes.

The three nonprofit organizations are jointly funding the initiative with $10 million during a 3-year period.

“The clinical success of immune checkpoint inhibitors has changed the face of cancer therapy, extending lives of patients who previously had few choices. In rare cases, these patients develop insulin-dependent diabetes, and nobody truly understands how or why,” Jeffrey Bluestone, PhDA.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen distinguished professor of metabolism and endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, and CEO of Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, said in a press release.

“In putting together this research initiative, we hope to answer key questions that will help us predict and prevent autoimmunity following immunotherapy treatment in the future,” Bluestone said. “This is of increasing importance as more patients are being treated with checkpoint inhibitors and other immunotherapies.”

HemOnc Today spoke with Cheryl Selinsky, PhD, vice president of research operations at Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, about the need for an initiative such as this and when she anticipates results from ongoing research will become available.

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