Lee Iacocca Launches Campaign To Seek Cure for Type 1 Diabetes
Former auto executive Lee Iacocca on Monday launched a campaign called Join Lee Now to finance clinical trials to find a cure for type 1 diabetes, the AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. Iacocca said that he has committed $1 million to the effort, and he wants one million Americans to contribute $10 each toward the three-year program, which will be conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital's Diabetes Center (AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 8/16). Iacocca hopes to raise $10 million in addition to the money he committed (Lazar, Boston Herald, 8/17).
Last November, medical researchers reported in the journal Science that they had been able to use spleen cells from healthy mice to reverse type 1 diabetes in mice with the disease. Type 1 diabetes is less common and treatable than type 2 diabetes; often causes blindness and loss of limbs; and is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Iacocca said, "We did it in mice and now we want to do it in humans -- but we can't wait for the government or the pharmaceutical industry to do it -- I'll be dead or an old man." After Iacocca's wife died in 1983 from type 1 diabetes, he founded the Iacocca Foundation, which has provided $30 million for diabetes research and led to the breakthrough in lab tests on mice (AP/Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 8/16).