Today has been 4 months since Brian died. Needless to say it has been a difficult day.
This morning, I had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Dale Greiner of
The University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Greiner took the
time to explain his research to me. While his background is primarily in
Diabetes research, his work offers promise to patients with Cancer,
Diabetes, HIV, and other auto-immune diseases.
is focusing on the development of “humanized” mice to study human T1D
in collaboration with Dr. Leonard Shultz at The Jackson Laboratory. We
have developed unique strains of mice that can be engrafted with
functional human cells and tissues, including human islets and human
immune systems. We are now using these mice to understand how human beta
cells resist killing by a human autoimmune system in vivo, how human
beta cells replicate and regenerate in vivo, how human autoreactive
cells develop in a human diabetes-susceptible immune system, and how a
human immune system targets and kills beta cells in vivo. These
approaches are allowing us to understand and dissect mechanisms
important in human T1D that cannot be studied directly in humans.
Moreover, because these mice readily accept human cells and tissues, we
are now using them to study human regenerative medicine, immunity,
human-specific infectious agents and cancer."
Those of you who
know me well know that my vegetarian soft-heart struggles with animal
research. You also know that I would have done almost anything to save
Brian, and that if risking the lives of 50 mice could have saved him, I
would have done so in a second.
Next month Dr. Greiner will
be honored as the first recipient of the Dr. Eileen L. Berman and
Stanley I. Berman Foundation Chair Grant to research early detection and
treatment of abdominal cancers including appendicial and peritonial
cancer. He is one of only a few researchers world-wide focusing on
these insidious forms of cancer.
Sadly, it is too late to
help Brian. The cancer struck him so cruelly and left us with no
viable treatments. Dr. Greiner's work, however, can save others from
the same fate. This research can help with early detection, and offer
the promise of new and patient-specific treatment options.
Greiner's work has become my hope. His research has become my charity
of choice. Brian's death was senseless and cruel. If I can help spread
the word about this promising research, and if by spreading the word, I
can help raise funding for this research, then maybe I can be
instrumental in finding a cure. Then maybe Brian's death will not
have been for nothing.
Donations to Dr. Greiner's research can be made to:
The Diabetes Center of Excellence attn: Lisa Hubacz, Administrator 55 Lake Avenue North, AC2-208 Worcester, MA 01605
Donations marked for cancer research will be earmarked specifically for this project.