JDRF Top Advances


JDRF advances the mission to do the greatest good for the most people in the shortest amount of time.

JDRF made exciting progress this year in our mission of accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications. The following blog and video feature several prominent advances in T1D research made possible by you, our greatest supporters. In the video, Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., chief mission officer and vice president, research at JDRF presents the top advances and takes questions from the T1D community, click here to take a look.

Early promise in JDRF-Supported ViaCyte trial
JDRF is paving a pathway to a cure by pursuing research priorities that can improve treatment of T1D in the short term and mature over time into curative therapies. For example, ViaCyte’s VC-01 device that features pancreatic precursor cells enclosed in a device to protect them from immune attack. In January 2016 ViaCyte reported that VC-01’s precursor cells showed signs of developing into insulin-producing beta cells in one participant of the phase 1 safety trial. According to ViaCyte, although the observations are preliminary, they suggest the VC-01 device is working as designed.

Prevention in the Hands of Future Generations
JDRF is funding the Fr1da project, in which 3-and 4-year-olds in Bavaria, Germany, are screened for early-stage markers of T1D at well-child visits. Those who test positive for the markers can enroll in a study monitoring disease progression or a trial testing whether oral insulin can stop progression of T1D. This trial raises the exciting prospect of stopping T1D in its tracks and changing the future for those at risk of developing T1D.

New T1D Classification System and Screening for the Future
Leading diabetes organizations along with JDRF’s leadership published a classification system describing the early stages of T1D development before symptoms appear. The system defines a window of opportunity during which we may be able to interrupt disease development and delay the onset of symptoms. This laid the groundwork for trials to detect T1D during early stages and to test different ways of stopping its progression.

JDRF-Supported UVA’s AP System Provided Better Blood-Glucose Management
JDRF has championed the development of artificial pancreas (AP) systems for more than a decade to improve outcomes for people with T1D. Over the last year we saw at least 18 different AP systems under development by industry and academic groups, including a team at the University of Virginia (UVA).

Partnerships will Yield New Therapies
JDRF partnered with pharmaceutical leader Sanofi to commit almost $5 million toward developing four different approaches to glucose responsive insulins (GRIs). Innovative partnerships will speed the development of GRIs for the T1D community by uniting JDRF’s scientific leadership with Sanofi’s expertise in bringing novel insulins to market. GRIs are insulins that activate when blood-glucose levels rise and deactivate when they fall, preventing dangerous highs and lows.

Advocacy is at the Core of our Work to Accelerate Life-Changing Breakthroughs
JDRF drives innovation by supporting research and by ensuring people will have access to new therapies as they are developed to increase access, and improve outcomes. In FY16 JDRF launched a health policy initiative with the Helmsley Charitable Trust and T1D Exchange to increase access to emerging therapies
Maximizing access to advanced therapies can improve health outcomes for those living with T1D and encourage continued innovation in developing next-generation therapies.

Why it Matters:
JDRF’s number one goal is to cure type 1 diabetes (T1D). As we work to delay or prevent the onset of T1D, we are committed to reduce the daily burden for the people who have T1D today. We made tremendous progress with your support this year and it is our hope that you share our successes with others in the coming weeks.

By Emily Howell