Special Diabetes Program
The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a critical program that provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the country’s premier medical research agency. The SDP was renewed on February 9, 2018 and will expire on September 30, 2019.
Renewing the SDP before it expires in September is one of JDRF’s top legislative priorities, and efforts to ensure this important program continues are already underway.
Thanks to Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Representative Tom Reed (R-NY), and Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for championing efforts that culminated in 378 U.S. Representatives and 68 U.S. Senators signing letters to Congressional leadership in support of continued funding support for the SDP. This bipartisan support will ensure critical T1D research continues.
Why the SDP renewal is essential
Congress created the SDP back in 1997, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, after a Congressional Diabetes Research Working Group reported serious limitations in diabetes research—for T1D in particular—largely due to inadequate funding. The SDP consists of two initiatives: one to advance T1D research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the other to fund treatment, education and prevention programs for American Indian and Alaska Native populations, who are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes.
Since its inception, the SDP has shown tangible results by helping scientists make significant advances in cure therapies, prevention studies and treatments—including artificial pancreas technology and groundbreaking advances in vision improvement among people with diabetic eye disease. The program is currently funded at $150 million per year—making it an essential component of the overall Federal investment in diabetes research. The SDP demonstrates a real return on investment annually, making it a traditionally popularly supported program across the aisle.
However, multiple-year funding—such as the most recent two-year renewal—is essential to continuing large-scale trials, proactively planning next steps for research programs and allocating research dollars most effectively. That’s why we must continue to work to ensure that the SDP is consistently renewed by the Congress.
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