Grant and Matching Funds Will Be Used to Build Innovative Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes

BOSTON — January 25, 2012 — Joslin Diabetes Center has received a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The grant, which was announced today, is among the highest amounts ever received to support diabetes research in Massachusetts.

Joslin will match the Center’s grant with $5.8 million raised from Joslin donors.  The total $10.8 million will be used to build a comprehensive Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes at Joslin’s location in the heart of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. 

“This grant will support the life-saving work of the Joslin Diabetes Center, while creating jobs in both construction and the life sciences, and advancing scientific knowledge regarding diabetes prevention and treatment,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki.  “This is just the sort of project that we envisioned funding through the Life Sciences Initiative, one that will both strengthen our innovation economy, and provide a substantial return on investment in both jobs and innovation.”

“We are very grateful to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for funding this project,” said Sharon Harpel, Vice President of Research Administration at Joslin.  “We are also grateful to our donors for providing the required matching funds.”

“The Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes will enable us to accelerate our clinical and research endeavors,” according to Dr. George King, Joslin’s Chief Scientific Officer.  “It will ensure we have the most up to date infrastructure, through the creation of new labs and new platforms, that will lead to the development of translational studies for curing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and their complications, as well as advancing our work in diabetes prevention and obesity.“ 

More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, a number that is increasing by one million per year.  More than 400,000 adults in Massachusetts have been diagnosed with diabetes.  These numbers are increasing at epidemic rates (61% in the last 12 years).  The cost of diabetes in Massachusetts is $4.3 billion annually.

“Governor Patrick signed the Life Sciences Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center, surrounded by children with diabetes, so we are especially excited to support Joslin’s new Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.  “This new research center will make important advances in treating a devastating disease that affects so many families in Massachusetts and across the Globe.  This investment will also create jobs, which is an important part of the Life Sciences Center’s mission.” 

John Brooks, President and CEO of Joslin Diabetes Center, stated, “We are extremely excited to have this award which triggers the building of our Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes.  This funding perfectly matches one of the stated purposes of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s grant program, which is to contribute to the “culture of innovation” in Massachusetts.  Consistent with our mission, which is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes, Joslin will use this investment to innovate diabetes research and drive that much closer to a cure, both for the citizens of the Commonwealth as well as the rest of the country and the world, as we see the scope of the diabetes pandemic accelerate.”

The Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes encompasses 16 unique, yet interrelated, sub-projects that bridge clinical research, clinical care, and basic research with translational programs to ensure that Joslin continues to advance it’s “clinic to research to clinic” solutions.   This cross-pollination of clinical and research disciplines is critical because the cure for diabetes is a vexing goal due to the complexity of the disease, as it has different forms and complications that affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the cardiovascular system.  

Joslin expects the Translational Center to foster new research approaches whereby basic, translational and clinical researchers work side-by-side and collaborate with Joslin’s clinical team in an interactive and supportive environment, enabling exciting new ideas to flourish, and where the latest innovative technologies and new biomedical discoveries are advanced so that they can be translated quickly into solutions that help patients and others with or at risk of diabetes.  

The project will renovate nearly 20,000 square feet of space and is projected to create approximately 50 construction jobs beginning in FY13, and approximately 50 new permanent jobs in the life sciences.