Dr. Camillo Ricordi Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.

Acknowledged by his peers as one of the world’s leading scientists in diabetes cure-focused research, tolerance induction, and cellular transplantation, Ricordi is well known for inventing the machine that makes it possible to isolate large numbers of islet cells (insulin-producing cells) from the human pancreas and for performing the first series of successful clinical islet transplants that reversed diabetes. The procedure is now in worldwide use by all medical centers that perform clinical islet transplants.

With more than 40 inventions to his credit, both here and abroad, Ricordi has developed numerous other technologies for cell processing and transplantation, and has been awarded 26 U.S. patents to date.

One of his most recent inventions led to the first successful transplant of a bioengineered endocrine pancreas implanted within a 3D bioactive resorbable scaffold in the abdominal cavity of a patient with a severe form of Type 1 Diabetes, and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Another invention with collaborators led to the first series of organ transplant recipients who were able to completely discontinue anti-rejection drugs for several years.

“I am thankful to the Academy for this great honor,” said Ricordi, who is also the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, distinguished professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, and microbiology and immunology, and director of the Cell Transplant Program. “I have been blessed for being able to go from idea-to-impact, and actually help people suffering with diabetes, a disease that I have dedicated my life to eradicating, both as physician and scientist.

“Ultimately, it is not the number of inventions and patents that count, but rather the way you share and translationally validate them on the path to curing diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

Those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

With the election of the 2017 class, Ricordi is among 912 NAI Fellows, representing more than 250 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes. The 2017 Fellows are named inventors on nearly 6,000 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 32,000 issued U.S. patents.

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 100 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes; 439 members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; 36 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame; 52 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science; 29 Nobel Laureates; 261 AAAS Fellows; 168 IEEE Fellows; and 142 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, among other awards and distinctions.
On April 5, 2018, the 2017 NAI Fellows will be inducted as part of the Seventh Annual NAI Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection in Washington, D.C. Andrew H. Hirshfeld, U.S. Commissioner for Patents, will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony.

The 2017 class of NAI Fellows was evaluated by the 2017 Selection Committee, which included 18 members including NAI Fellows, U.S. National Medal recipients, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and senior officials from the USPTO, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Association of American Universities, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of University Technology Managers, and National Inventors Hall of Fame, among other organizations.

About the Diabetes Research Institute
The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity.

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