JDRF Research Accomplishments Lead the Way to Prevent Future Type 1 Diabetes Diagnoses
—2017 was an unprecedented year of advocacy and breakthrough research to cure, prevent and treat T1D—
NEW YORK, January 9, 2018 – During the past year, JDRF, the world’s largest private sector funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, has driven breakthrough results and enabled research leading to significant advances in treatment options and a clearer understanding of a disease that affects 1.25 million Americans. In 2017, JDRF supported 75 clinical trials and directly and indirectly attracted $300 million toward T1D research initiatives.
“JDRF is proud to have enabled many of the most important breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research and treatment accessibility,” said Derek Rapp, JDRF President and CEO. “And JDRF’s impact goes far beyond the direct research we fund. In fact, for every $1 JDRF invests in research, an additional $2.50 is brought into the field through our efforts. To date, our direct funding, partnerships and advocacy have led to nearly $5 billion invested in T1D research and community support.” Rapp added, “We could not have accomplished any of this without the support of our global network of volunteers, donors, partners, advocates and the scientific community.”
“As a result of JDRF’s work in the past year alone, we have identified promising new techniques to improve beta cell health and survival, established childhood screening programs that will reduce life-threatening incidents of diabetic ketoacidosis, accelerated progress on advanced artificial pancreas systems, furthered efforts to develop beta cell replacement therapies, and supported a fledgling approach to block the autoimmune attack that triggers T1D,” said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF Chief Mission Officer.
One of JDRF’s most innovative steps in 2017 was the launch of the JDRF T1D Fund, a venture philanthropy vehicle devoted to accelerating life-changing solutions for people with T1D through catalytic commercial investments. Through its investments in partnership with private capital, including venture capital, corporations and foundations, the T1D Fund attracts the private investment necessary to advance drugs, devices, diagnostics and vaccines into the hands of those living with T1D. In 2017, the T1D Fund invested more than $10 million in companies developing solutions strategically aligned with JDRF.
JDRF’s investments are delivering on the promise of making life with T1D better, driving innovation and research around the world within six different therapy areas: artificial pancreas (AP), beta cell replacement, glucose control, T1D prevention, restoration and complications. Highlights from the past year include:
- Demonstrating through the JDRF-funded CONCEPTT trial that monitoring blood sugar levels continuously during pregnancy via a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) led to significantly better health outcomes for mothers with T1D and their babies – findings that could lead to an improved standard of care for expecting mothers with T1D around the world.
- Confirming through the JDRF-supported REMOVAL trial that the drug metformin has beneficial effects on cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes in adults with longstanding T1D. These results are extremely relevant, as heart disease is a predominant cause of death in people with T1D.
- Development of the JDRF-organized Type 1 Diabetes Outcomes Program and publication of a consensus statement that identifies and defines clinically meaningful T1D outcomes beyond hemoglobin HbA1c, which could lead to an improved standard of care, more efficient clinical trials and improved insurance reimbursement options.
- Results of a JDRF-funded, landmark trial testing cancer drug imatinib (brand name Gleevec) found that the drug slowed the progression of T1D and the loss of the body’s own insulin production.
Pursuing its vision of a world without T1D, JDRF has invested strategically in science to prevent or delay the onset and progression of T1D. The JDRF-funded international Diabetes TrialNet Oral Insulin Prevention Trial, the largest and longest oral insulin prevention trial ever conducted, sought to answer whether treatment at early stages of disease can delay progression to clinical (stage 3) T1D. In one of the subgroups, oral insulin was able to delay the progression of T1D by 31 months on average – an exciting finding that could lead to further advances in prevention.
Additionally, capitalizing on the findings of the Fr1da study that showed that early screening of children for T1D antibodies could dramatically reduce the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), JDRF supported a demonstration project in collaboration with the Helmsley Charitable Trust, with researchers at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, to conduct The Autoimmunity Screening for Kids (ASK) Research Program, the most comprehensive T1D screening program ever launched.
In yet another groundbreaking project, JDRF and IBM are developing and applying machine learning methods to analyze years of global T1D research data and identify factors leading to the onset of T1D in children. This data analysis project is the first precision medicine effort to identify T1D risk and onset.
JDRF also continued its leadership in the artificial pancreas (AP) space. Even as the world’s first AP system has come to market (following a decade of leadership and development support through JDRF’s groundbreaking Artificial Pancreas Project), the organization launched an Open Protocol Automated Insulin Delivery Initiative to support the development of open protocols for diabetes technologies. Recognizing patient-driven, do-it-yourself approaches in which CGM devices and insulin pumps are reverse engineered to display data in innovative ways or allow automated insulin delivery, the new initiative is exploring ways to establish clear financial, regulatory and legal frameworks to ensure this customized approach is safer and more accessible.
The past year was also a standout year for T1D advocacy. In 2017, support from JDRF and its network led to a decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to make CGM devices eligible for Medicare coverage. JDRF also strongly advocated for healthcare principles that ensure people with T1D have access to affordable health insurance as healthcare reform was being considered in Congress. As part of JDRF’s promise to promote affordability, choice and coverage of T1D therapies, the organization launched its Coverage2Control campaign, urging insurance companies to provide coverage that works for people with T1D. The campaign earned the support of more than 50,000 petition signers and 12 major diabetes and health groups, and led to Anthem’s decision to cover new AP technology.
As 2018 begins, JDRF continues its 18-month effort to advocate for renewal of the Special Diabetes Program, which provides $150 million annually for T1D research through the National Institutes of Health. During the 2017 JDRF Children’s Congress, more than 160 children with T1D, their parents, celebrity role models and JDRF leaders converged on Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress and testify at a Senate hearing about the need for renewed funding. Congress enacted $37.5 million in funds in a stop gap spending bill in December, and JDRF is strongly advocating for full funding to be passed in early 2018.
“We are grateful to the type 1 diabetes community that has made this remarkable progress possible,” said Mark Atkinson, Ph.D., Director, University of Florida Diabetes Institute and Chairman of the JDRF Research Advisory Committee. “By bringing cross-disciplinary research leaders together and the many stakeholders who are collaborating to advance our mission, JDRF’s work continues to achieve the greatest good for people affected by T1D in the shortest amount of time.”
To learn more, visit www.jdrf.org/impact.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.