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Barnstable Brown Research Lab

Nearly 15 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes. Another six million people don't even know they have the disease. Researchers work feverishly to battle diabetes. Exercise, new drugs and ground level basic research are ways the medical industry are taking on the disease.

Tom Mitchell, Barnstable Brown Research Lab

"We're doing basic research on a central switchpoint in the immune response. If you turn it on, you can do things to prevent infectious disease. If you turn it off, you can reduce auto immune disesases, where the immune system causes the problem."

Tom Mitchell, an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UofL, leads a research team in the Barnstable Brown Lab. The scientists go deep inside the immune system to study T-Cells. These cells normally help the body fight infectious diseases. But in Type I Diabetes they don't.

Mitchell continues

"In some kids, the immune system, instead of attacking the pathogen the T-Cells attack cells in the pancreas that make insulin. It occurs over years and all of a sudden a person is diagnosed because they can't make insulin."

Mitchell's team is trying to find out why these T-Cells turn against the body. It's part of a large group effort among scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians.

Mitchell adds

"It's beyond any one lab to make medicines, design them, work them and test them. Our job is to learn and share that information. We're doing our part in what's truly a public-private partnership."

The Barnstable Brown Research Lab is part of the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics at UofL.

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