The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes will take place at the Mall of America on Saturday, February 23 to raise money that could help researchers at the University of Minnesota make significant strides in treatment.
JDRF was formed in the early 1970's by a group of mothers to raise money to support research to find a cure for Type-1 diabetes. The walk at the Mall of America hopes to raise more than $2 million with some of that money supporting research at the University of Minnesota.
JDRF volunteer Barbara White told FOX 9 News one particular study at the U of M on immune suppression could hold significant promise. The research by Dr. Brian Fife is attempting to identify the molecule that protects the body's insulin-producing cells, called islet cells. Ultimately, Fife wants to discover why the body's immune system -- T-cells, specifically -- sometimes break through the protective molecule of the islet cells and destroys them to cause diabetes.
"If we can prevent that attack by the T-cells on the islet cells, that would essentially stop Type-1 diabetes," said White.
FOX 9's Tim Blotz and Randy Meier have formed a virtual walk team for people to support JDRF. Donations can be made online.