The San Diego Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) will honor Novocell, Inc. at their 10th Anniversary Promise Ball on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The La Jolla based company is dedicated to developing cell and drug therapies to treat diabetes. “We are extremely excited about Novocell’s advancement of a cell therapy and the promise it holds for millions diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As such, we are proud to honor Novocell for their progress in our mission to cure type 1 diabetes,” said Sean McParland, Executive Director JDRF San Diego.

Recognizing the promise of Novocell’s work in the area of diabetes, JDRF established a partnership with Novocell to research a delivery method for human islets. Novocell’s predecessor, CyThera, Inc., also received a JDRF grant of $230,000 to derive new stem cell lines for research and development.

The Promise Ball will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on Saturday, May 16, 2009. Also honored will be Karen and John Creelman, a local family who have been ardent supporters of JDRF and their efforts to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Chaired by Greg Flores and Heather Finlay, the Promise Ball is one of the premiere black-tie events in San Diego. More than 600 guests will turn out to “Hands Up for a Cure,” which is the evening’s theme. The event aims to raise $1 million for type 1 diabetes research.

The Promise Ball will showcase Kevin Nealon who will provide the entertainment for the evening. Nealon has established himself as one of the premiere television, theatrical and stand-up comedians of his generation. Nealon is best known for sketches on Saturday Night Live and for his current role in the Golden Globe nominated Showtime series, WEEDS.

Novocell, Inc. is a stem cell engineering company with research operations in San Diego, California and Athens, Georgia, dedicated to creating, delivering and commercializing cell and drug therapies for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Novocell has three primary technologies: stem cell engineering, cell encapsulation and drug discovery. The company was founded in 1999 and merged with CyThera, Inc. and BresaGen, Inc. in 2004. For more information, please visit www.novocell.com.

JDRF, the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes – a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin-dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $1.23 billion in direct funding to diabetes research. More than 85 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. JDRF’s mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. For more information, visit the JDRF web site at www.jdrfsd.org or call 858-597-0240.