Pathways Spring 2013

Spring 2013

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Tom Cartier, the founder of Spring Point, with his son, Cory

A look back …

Spring Point Project has come a long way since our founding in 2004. Led by the efforts of our founder, Tom Cartier, and current Board Chair Pat Ryan, Spring Point has built a unique partnership of parents, volunteers, professionals, physicians, swine producers and researchers resulting in a solid plan to develop the shortest path to a cure. We’ve made a lot of progress – including construction of The Diabetes Research and Wellness Islet Resource Facility, the only FDA "approved" supplier of pig organs and tissues.

Additionally, in a recent study by Dr. Hering and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, rejection of transplanted porcine islets was prevented in 21 out of 25 monkeys through the use of a new combination of immunosuppressive drugs.

Despite the efficacy of these drugs, it was decided not to continue on this path for two reasons. First, more novel and safer drugs are now becoming available; second, and perhaps more importantly, long-term and drug-free porcine islet graft survival in mice is now routinely achieved using tolerance.

While we remain dedicated to and committed to cooperating and supporting the research of Dr. Hering and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, we have learned that not all current sciences – such as his preclinical tolerance studies – need our product at the same time. Therefore, Spring Point is expanding our mission by identifying and working with researchers around the world, encouraging collaboration among scientists and fostering progress on the shortest path to a cure. We believe this provides us with greater opportunity for success.

One example of our expanded mission is Spring Point’s partnership with Islet Sciences Inc. Together, we are developing encapsulated porcine islet transplantation products using our islets; a technique in which a semi-permeable alginate material is used to encapsulate the islets protecting them from immune attacks.

The value proposition of Spring Point Project has never been stronger. Our model will produce the lowest-cost and only FDA-"approved" porcine islet cells in the United States – leaving more money for research. We are on this journey together and we will never give up until our destination of a cure is reached.

To learn more about where we’ve been, check out our history.

… And the path forward

Human islet transplantation occurs now, and, as you can read on our website, the results are amazing. The University Edmonton did more than 60 transplants last year. The University of Minnesota has performed them and recently has completed phase III clinical trials that hopefully will expand this opportunity.

There exist some barriers to transplantation:

  • Islet transplantation has to be accepted by the medical profession as a recognized option. To this end, the University of Minnesota is working to file an Expanded Access Application (EAA) and a Biological License Approval (BLA) application with the FDA. Once approved, the EAA will provide short-term access to islet transplantation to those who desperately need it, and the BLA will make human islet transplantation a standard practice of medicine.
  • Insurance companies need to cover it, and progress has been made by Dr. Hering on this front with major insurers.
  • Lack of supply of human islets, which is by far the most difficult challenge, is where Spring Point plays a pivotal role.

Porcine islets through Spring Point Project, the only current source of FDA "approved" islets, can be produced in sufficient quantities to meet the demand when it arises.

This is a big step, and it proves the critical role Spring Point has on this realistic path to a cure. Spring Point is poised and ready to play its part in this journey but needs your help and support to ensure that we remain successful and are ready when the demand increases.

A portrait of Spring Point Project’s progenitor pig, Abraham

2012 Annual Report

Functional Expenses:



Management/general expenses:




Total Functional Expenses:


Contributions: $1,029,938
Special events: $138,206
Tissue sales: $578,600

Total Revenue: $1,746,744

88% program efficiency

The Golf Classic Fore Diabetes

The Golf Classic "fore" Diabetes Research benefits work at the University of Minnesota's Schulze Diabetes Institute and its research partner Spring Point Project to advance a cure for diabetes. The 17th annual Golf Classic takes place on Monday, June 17th, 2013, at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul, Minn. The tournament consists of morning and afternoon rounds, an exceptional auction and a lunch and dinner program. Join in the fun and help support a tournament that has raised $5 million for diabetes research. For more information, contact Katie Mae Pritchard at or 612.625.5682.

The late Jeff Dobbs with Dr. David Sutherland
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