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University of Florida Firsts

For type 1 diabetes, the UF Health Diabetes Institute is the first United States academic center in the nation to:

  • Use islet cell autoantibodies to perform large scale screening of school children to predict future cases of type 1 diabetes (1970s)
  • One of the first areas in Florida and the US to receive state funding to add diabetes patient educators to clinic settings (1979)
  • Report a newly defined disorder (autoimmune polyglandular syndrome) that included type 1 diabetes (1980s)
  • Perform large studies using immune suppressive agents to revers the disorder (1980s)
  • Show that two autoantibodies (insulin and glutamic acid decarboxylase) predict disease in the general population (1980s)
  • Evaluate the psychological impact of predictive screening for the disorder (1990s)
  • First pediatric-specific program in the state of Florida to receive the coveted Education Program Recognition certification from the ADA (1997)
  • Perform a cord blood stem cell therapy for alleviating the disease in very young children (2000s)
  • Develop a nationwide repository for tissues obtained from organ donors with type 1 diabetes (2000s)
  • Sponsor and hold an annual university-wide lighting ceremony in recognition of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month (Began 2008)
  • Test a combination of 2 FDA approved drugs (Neulasta and Thymoglobulin) as a means to reverse type 1 diabetes (2010s)
  • Pioneered one of only two research studies providing annual cost estimates specifically for type 1 diabetes in the US. SourceTao B, Pietropaolo M, Atkinson M, Schatz D, Taylor D. Estimating the cost of type 1 diabetes in the US: a propensity score matching method. PLoS One 2010; 5: 11501.