University of Florida research assistant professor Dr. Chang-Qing Xia, from the College of Medicine department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, has received a two-year $570,000 grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The funds are part of a JDRF program designed to fast-track scientific discoveries. Xia will partner with industry to test a diabetes prevention therapy and move it rapidly into clinical testing in people if preliminary findings prove promising.
Xia will test an approach designed to lessen the immune system’s attack on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Called extracorporeal photopheresis therapy, the procedure isolates white blood cells from a blood sample and primes them with a light-activated drug. The cells are then treated with ultraviolet light and reinfused.
The study will be conducted in collaboration with Therakos, a division of Johnson & Johnson that manufactures the equipment used to isolate the blood cells.