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30th January 2020

Fighting For Type 1 Diabetics

Diabetes researcher

Dr Sebastian Stead is fighting to eliminate the need for anti-rejection medication for type 1 diabetics.

Eliminating the need for harmful anti-rejection medications for patients who undergo organ transplantations is one step closer to fruition thanks to your support of Dr Sebastian Stead’s latest research.

Dr Stead has secured an Early- Career Fellowship from KTDRA and The Hospital Research Foundation* (THRF) to progress his important work in identifying new ways to prevent organ rejection by using nanoparticles.

His research will have a strong focus on islet cell transplantation for type 1 diabetics, but could also benefit kidney, lung and heart transplantations.

“Nanoparticles are tiny beads, one-billionth of a metre in size and we have developed these particles with special chemical-like linkers which help us attach a wide variety of compounds on the surface,” Dr Stead said.

“These particles can then be given the ability to target specific organs within the body and deliver medications, proteins or compounds directly to the organ, decreasing the chance of organ rejection.”

Dr Stead’s ground-breaking advancements have been made alongside expert and mentor Professor Toby Coates at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“My background is immunology; I started my honours with Prof Coates in 2014 and have been working within the area of islet cell transplantations ever since. My research has led me to develop this current project,” Dr Stead said.

“If my research proves successful and prevents organ rejection, it will improve patient mortality, increase patient financial wellbeing by no longer needing to pay for lifelong medications and overall improve patient quality of life.

“It will also eliminate debilitating side effects from the anti-rejection medication, such as an increased risk of cancer and infections.”

This revolutionary research could help millions of people around the world and Dr Stead is grateful to have been given the opportunity to explore his project thanks to KTDRA’s generous donors.

“Without the funding from KTDRA and THRF, this project would not be possible. I have performed previous experiments with the nanoparticles when I was undertaking my PhD and we had some amazingly successful results.

“Now having the funding allows more experimentation. I am really excited to see where this project could go.”

We look forward to updating you on this important work!

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