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Ask the Expert: Drs Chris Fraker and Allison Bayer (DRI, Miami)
Dr. Fraker is focused on optimizing islet/stem cell encapsulation to restore normal glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression. Additionally, he continues to work on improving oxygenation to encapsulated cells and applying his technologies to the growth and maintenance of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), islets and immune cells. The nano-emulsion technologies developed in Dr. Fraker’s lab were also licensed for development as injectable anesthetics, repurposing inhalational anesthetics into the nano-emulsions.

More recently, Dr. Fraker has begun work on the role of the innate immune system (natural killer [NK] cells) in type 1 diabetes and the importance of these cells in the viral hypothesis surrounding diabetes development. Dr. Fraker is also examining the importance of innate immune function in autoimmune pathologies and the existence of precursor cells in MSCs. He is also involved in a project examining a potential metabolic factor in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes: folic acid.

As reported in the Journal of Immunology, Dr Bayer's team established an important function for IL-7R for the development of natural T regulatory cells. This will be an important line of future investigation, as polymorphism in the IL-7Ra gene that likely leads to reduced IL-7R signaling, is an autoimmune susceptibility gene for both multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Bayer’s research focuses on understanding the basic immunobiology of regulatory T cells and applying that knowledge for future clinical translational applications. She hopes that her work will lead to the design of novel therapies for a non-toxic approach to tolerance induction with the ultimate goal of achieving both self-tolerance and transplantation tolerance for the treatment of type 1 diabetes patients.

Sep 20, 2022 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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