Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center has received a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The grant is among the highest amounts ever received to support diabetes research in Massachusetts.
Joslin will match the grant with $5.8 million raised from Joslin donors. The total $10.8 million will be used to build a comprehensive Translational Center for the Cure of Diabetes at Joslin’s site in the heart of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area.
“This grant will support the life-saving work of the Joslin Diabetes Center, while creating jobs in both construction and the life sciences, and advancing scientific knowledge regarding diabetes prevention and treatment,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “This is just the sort of project that we envisioned funding through the Life Sciences Initiative, one that will both strengthen our innovation economy and provide a substantial return on investment in both jobs and innovation.”
The center “will enable us to accelerate our clinical and research endeavors,” said Dr. George King, Joslin’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It will ensure we have the most up-to-date infrastructure, through the creation of new labs and new platforms, that will lead to the development of translational studies for curing type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and their complications, as well as advancing our work in diabetes prevention and obesity.“
More than 25 million Americans have diabetes, a number that is increasing by one million per year and has increased 61% in the last 12 years. The cost of diabetes in Massachusetts is $4.3 billion annually.
The Center encompasses 16 unique, yet interrelated, sub-projects that bridge clinical research, clinical care and basic research with translational programs to ensure Joslin continues to advance its “clinic to research to clinic” solutions. This cross-pollination of clinical and research disciplines is critical, because the cure for diabetes is a vexing goal due to the complexity of the disease, as it has different forms and complications that affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves and cardiovascular system.
Joslin expects the Translational Center to foster new research approaches whereby basic, translational and clinical researchers work side by side and collaborate with Joslin’s clinical team in an interactive and supportive environment, enabling exciting new ideas to flourish, and where the latest innovative technologies and new biomedical discoveries are advanced so they can be translated quickly into solutions that help patients and others at risk.
The project will renovate nearly 20,000 square feet of space and is projected to create approximately 50 construction jobs beginning in fiscal 2013 and approximately 50 new permanent jobs in the life sciences.