07 September 2010
Garvan immunologist Dr Shane Grey has won the 2010 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) / Macquarie Group Foundation Diabetes Research Innovation Award for an Early Career Researcher.
The annual award recognises ‘excellence and innovation in medical research by exceptional researchers in Australia contributing to the search for the prevention and / or a cure for Type 1 diabetes and its complications’.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the body attacks its own insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Working with mice that spontaneously develop Type 1 diabetes, Grey’s lab has found a way to alter the balance of immune cells, effectively preventing disease onset.
“We’ve found a molecular agent, known as BCMA, that appears to elevate some classes of immune cell while eliminating others,” said Grey.
“Last year we published data that forecast BCMA’s potential as a therapy. Since then, we’ve shown in mice that BCMA appears to prevent the appearance of all rogue killer cells in the pancreas.”
“We’re very encouraged by our results – which are being moved towards clinical trials in Australia, with the support of various bodies including the Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre, based at Garvan, and JDRF.”
“Obviously it’s great to win this award – and will help us promote our findings internationally. I will use the $ 5,000 prize to present our data at the 2011 Keystone meeting on Immunoregulatory Networks in Colorado.”