nPOD Newsletter April 2015 - Special Edition
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JDRF nPOD Investigator Newsletter
Special Edition - April 2015

2015 Annual Meeting Recap

From February 21-25 2015, nPOD held its 7th Annual Meeting.  Over five days nearly 165 people participated in the activities.  This represented a dramatic increase over the 18 persons present at the first meeting held in Denver in 2007.
For this special edition of our quarterly newsletter, I had conversations with Dr. Mark Atkinson and Dr. Alberto Pugliese, co-Executive Directors of nPOD where we discussed some of the many “takeaways” from the meeting. Amongst the most noteworthy or surprising….
  • We knew mice and people were different, but a presentation by Yuval Dor suggested that how a pancreas grows and forms is also completely different. Mouse cells get bigger in size, but human pancreas cells stay smaller and increase in total number of cells. This study may explain the dramatic difference in the speed of growth between mice and humans as well as variances in replication potential.
  • Science used to think that cases of diabetes prior to 6 months of age were caused by a single gene (and could sometimes be cured by sulfonylurea—a drug developed decades ago to enhance insulin secretion for Type 2 patients). Efforts by Richard Oram suggest otherwise.  Time will complete this story but for now, evidence suggests that early onset cases of type 1 diabetes in very young individuals are possible without a single gene mutation.
  • Studies looking at tissue from the duodenum in nPOD cases suggest abnormalities exist in the gut tissue from type 1 diabetes, and that the digestive tract may play a role in type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes is a disease of beta cells.  While seemingly obvious, efforts by Clayton Mathews, Lars Krogvold, and Ivan Gerling continue to support the notion that beta cells in type 1 diabetes patients display a wide arrange of abnormalities. These abnormalities were also seen in pancreas transplant biopsies by the nPOD-Transplantation program.
Each new discovery about how the pancreas grows, functions or destroys itself gets us closer to understanding diabetes. As a collective, we really believe that nPOD is clearly making a difference in our understanding to the causes of the disease as well as the design of therapies that can lead to a way to prevent and/or reverse this disease. We are thankful to the investigators for their hard work and collaborative spirit. Finally, the organ donors and their families remain in our thoughts, and we recognize the immense value of their generous gifts to type 1 diabetes research.

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nPOD Donor Cards

nPOD is working to raise awareness and increase those signed up to be organ donors throughout the U.S. Along with our two ‘blog articles’ about organ donation (with links below), we have been in contact with DonateLife America as they revamp the national donor registry and they encouraged us to have these cards as well. The Donate Life group thought it should only increase organ donation overall to encourage those with type 1 diabetes to become organ donors through and by signing the nPOD cards.

JDRF nPOD Organ Donation Story Part I:  Anne’s Story
JDRF nPOD Organ Donation Story Part II:  Research Progress through nPOD
We appreciate your feedback and help in spreading the word about the importance of
anatomical donations to nPOD from those with type 1 diabetes.

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Investigator Outreach to support nPOD - Thank you Jake Kushner

During the annual meeting, Dr. Jake Kushner received the Spirit of nPOD Award for his outreach to hospital staff to raise awareness about the nPOD program when organ donors have type 1 diabetes. These gifts to research sustain all of the science conducted with nPOD and are critical to our continued success.

To that end, we ask our investigators within the U.S. to continue such outreach at your own institution.

How can you help?
  • Talk to anatomical pathologists in your hospitals. Explain the importance of nPOD's research (nPOD can provide support materials) and ask if they have any pancreatic tissue saved from decedents with short disease duration. 
  • Talk with endocrinologists and pediatricians to let them know that the nPOD program exists and can further diabetes research when transplantation is not possible.
This kind of outreach is critical to nPOD's continued success. Please contact Jayne Moraski if you have questions about how to conduct similar outreach in your area hospitals.
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2014 nPOD Donor Criteria Update

  1. Type 1 diabetes (T1D), ANY age, ANY disease duration.
  2. Autoantibody positive with no clinical diagnosis of T1D for at  least 1 or more autoantibodies (GADAb, IA-2Ab, or ZnT8),  ≤ 30 years old  (for those OPOs that screen with nPOD).
  3. Pancreas or pancreas/kidney transplant recipients with a history of type 1 diabetes.
Did you know that tissue-only donors can donate to nPOD as well? Contact Jayne Moraski for more information.

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We want to hear from you!

If you have any comments or suggestions for future editions, please contact us at
Copyright © 2015 Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD), All rights reserved.

nPOD is a collaborative type 1 diabetes research project funded by JDRF. We support scientific investigators by providing, without cost, rare and difficult to obtain tissues beneficial to their research. nPOD currently supports over 120 type 1 diabetes-related scientific studies at institutions around the world. Our hope is that nPOD will prove a useful resource to the community of researchers dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. For more information, please visit or write us at
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