April Cure Champion

JDRF New England Celebrates SQZ Biotechnologies
at the 37th Annual JDRF Boston Gala—One Night

On May 11, JDRF New England will award SQZ Biotechnologies with the Nancy Jones Diabetes Champion Award at the 37th Annual JDRF Boston Gala—One Night, for the incredible work they are conducting in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.

SQZ uses its Cell Squeeze® platform to transform cells into sophisticated therapeutics. Cell Squeeze® was developed by SQZ CEO and founder, Armon Sharei, during his time as a Ph.D. student at MIT and uses microfluidics and high-speed deformation (or “cell squeezing”) to engineer cells with any biomaterial, resulting in sophisticated, complex and targeted therapeutics. SQZ was founded with the goal of realizing the technology’s broad potential to impact patients suffering from a range of diseases.

In 2017, the JDRF T1D Fund invested in SQZ to apply this research to T1D. Since then, SQZ has been working to develop its tolerizing antigen carriers (TACs), a new class of antigen-specific immune therapies, for T1D. SQZ TACs for T1D are engineered to retrain the immune system to no longer attack insulin-producing beta cells, and this approach shown promise thus far in preclinical studies with an animal model of diabetes. SQZ is currently conducting additional preclinical studies to further elucidate the potential of this therapy and ultimately bring it to the clinic.

SQZ believes that cell therapies can revolutionize the way we treat diseases. SQZ is currently focused on autoimmune diseases, such as T1D and cancer, however, with its ability to work across cell types and materials, the SQZ approach has the potential to create powerful, multifunctional cell therapies for a range of diseases.


The New England Chapter of JDRF will host the 37th Annual JDRF Boston Gala—One Night, a black-tie event that brings together more than 700 guests. The evening features an exciting silent and live auction, coupled with an entertaining cocktail hour, dinner and live entertainment. We invite you to join us for One Night, where we will celebrate how far we have come toward the One Day when we will celebrate a cure. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets for the event are still available, for more information please visit our website or contact Christina Roche at croche@jdrf.org or 781-431-0700. Those who are interested in volunteering, we have a variety of volunteer positions that we are looking to recruit to make the evening successful! This is an incredible way to gather a few of your friends and assist JDRF in surpassing our $2.2 million fundraising goal. With your help, we create an evening that highlights our Gala philosophy: Be the Momentum. Be the Progress. Be the Cure. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Holly Maloney at 781-431-0700 or hmaloney@jdrf.org