JDRF is deeply saddened by the passing of type 1 diabetes (T1D) champion Terry Wilkin. Professor Wilkin was considered by his peers as a talented physician, scientist, and teacher. At the time of his passing he was Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism within the International Health Regulations at University of Exeter Medical School.
In 2012 Professor Wilkin was asked to be chief investigator of the Accelerator Prevention Trial (adAPT), which is a randomized controlled intervention trial designed to test an alternative to the autoimmunity hypothesis in type 1 diabetes. The successful outcome would offer a means of preventing diabetes in children and, importantly, demonstrate the mechanism responsible. The aim of adAPT is to test the hypothesis that childhood diabetes can be prevented in those at risk by reducing demand on the beta cells which make insulin. Rather than use immunotherapy to control the immune system, it aims to show that type 1 diabetes can be prevented by reducing insulin requirements through mechanisms involving other pathways.
Aaron Kowalski, Chief Mission Officer at JDRF noted, “I worked with Terry in the very early stage of the trial – essentially – in the concept phase. He was driven by his enormous concern for the type 1 diabetes community, and was known for his desire to help provide data to prevent as many people as possible from getting type 1 diabetes in the future.”
Professor Wilkin graduated from St Andrew’s University Medical School and received his Medical Degree (commended) on thyroid autoimmunity from the University of Dundee. He spent the next 15 years with the Wellcome Trust, first as European Travelling Fellow at the University of Montpellier in Southern France and then as Wellcome Senior Research Fellow/Senior Lecturer/Reader at the University of Southampton before moving to the Foundation Chair of Medicine at Plymouth Postgraduate Medical School in 1993.
On behalf of everyone at JDRF and the entire T1D community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Wilkin’s family, friends and colleagues.