Improving Quality of Life: Complications and Behavioral Health

JDRF is focused on Cures and ensuring that people with T1D will be healthy enough to take advantage of them when they are realized. JDRF is tackling eye disease and kidney disease—where we have the opportunity to make short- and long-term impacts on people’s lives—and the emotional burden that comes with T1D, strategically investing in developing treatments and psychosocial support systems that can improve outcomes of the disease.

Our Approach

JDRF supports development of drugs and behavioral health interventions that delay or prevent progression of eye and kidney disease and improve mental health and quality of life.

Eye and Kidney Disease

JDRF’s goal and top priority in complications is the development of eye and kidney disease treatments for people with T1D. JDRF will also opportunistically support research to improve heart disease outcomes in T1D. 


The challenges of living with T1D are complex, vast, and individualistic, from diagnosis and therapy confusion to emotional and physical burden, and varies by age, stage, gender and other factors. By approaching the unique issues related to a life-long journey, we are helping to reduce the significant daily burden of this disease.

Program Goals

Develop therapies that prevent, delay, or reverse the progressive decline of vision in the disease.

Develop therapies to prevent, delay, or reverse kidney function decline.

Establish psychosocial interventions that offer sustained health benefits, are scalable, and are supported by strong clinical data for broader implementation in clinical care.


May 27

JDRF launches Center of Excellence at the University of Michigan

Michigan Center will study some of the most critical challenges in diabetes research, including work to identify predictive markers and therapeutic targets for T1D complications. Learn More
May 26

JDRF is supporting a definitive clinical trial testing a cholesterol drug in eye disease

Fenofibrate is a blood fat lowering drug available that has been shown to reduce eye damage in people with type 2 diabetes by 35%-40%, and to prevent eye damage in type 1 diabetes models.

Learn More

May 26

Novel Interventions in Children’s Healthcare (NICH) demonstrates successful interventions.

In the pilot study, there was a 50% reduction in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and a 40% reduction in diabetes hospital visits associated with diabetes with the NICH program.

Learn More

January 1

New drugs for diabetic retinopathy approved

Eyelea joins Lucentis as another anti-VEGF drug approved for treating diabetic retinopathy.

Learn More

May 26

A Moonshot initiative to restore vision.

JDRF and the Mary Tyler Moore & S. Robert Levine, MD Charitable Foundation launch “Restoring Vision: A JDRF Moonshot Initiative,” which has convened global research leaders to design a next-generation strategy for reversing blindness in T1D individuals.

Learn More

Looking ahead

We are working toward the day when complications are reversed and prevented for people living with T1D.

Want to learn more? View JDRF Scientists Jonathan Rosen, Ph.D., and Jeannette Soderberg, Ph.D., below as they explain JDRF’s efforts in this area.