JDRF Applauds Diabetes Care Groups for Support of Special Diabetes Program

JDRF Applauds Diabetes Care Groups for Support of Special Diabetes Program

Diabetes groups convey importance of 2012 SDP renewal to U.S. Senate and House leadership with joint letter

Media Contact:
Brian Johnston

New York, NY, September 13, 2012
– JDRF today applauded the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Endocrine Society, and American Association of Diabetes Educators for their support of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP)-a federally-funded program that accounts for roughly one-third of all diabetes research funding.

The organizations, which represent tens of thousands of clinicians specializing in diabetes care, joined forces through a shared letter to the U.S. Senate and House leadership, stating: “Without a renewal of SDP this year, there will be a 35 percent reduction in federal funding for diabetes research at a time when there are breakthroughs forthcoming that will change the course of the disease, further improve lives, and reduce healthcare costs in this country for future generations.”

Since 1997, the SDP has been an essential component in the federal government’s effort to combat diabetes; and it has been a successful one that has led to new insights and therapies not only for the disease that affects 26 million Americans, but also for autoimmune diseases that affect about 20 million more. The SDP is currently funded through September 2013, but has historically been renewed a year in advance to ensure program continuity and avoid the need to terminate promising research.

“Recent statistics from the CDC and NIH show that type 1 diabetes among people under age 20 rose by 23 percent between 2001 and2009,” said Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of JDRF. “Without important research supported by the public-private partnership of SDP and JDRF, the prevalence of the disease would double for every future generation. We applaud the leading clinician organizations for speaking up in the fight against diabetes by calling for SDP renewal, ensuring we build upon past advances and bring new life-saving technology to fruition.”

The joint letter discusses the progress in treatment as a result of the SDP, “making critical strides in developing therapies and technologies that reduce complications.” According to the letter: “…recent SDP research found that tighter glucose control leads to less costly complications, including a reduction in end stage renal disease (ESRD); diabetes is the leading cause of ESRD. SDP research also led to accelerated development of artificial pancreas systems that help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels. Several meaningful treatments for diabetic eye disease have resulted from SDP research. In addition, several immune therapies have been discovered through SDP research that slows the progression of type 1 diabetes onset for up to a year in those genetically at risk of developing the disease.”

“Diabetes costs the U.S. economy $174 billion each year, and health costs are expected to triple in the next 25 years,” said Cynthia Rice, vice president of government relations for JDRF. “For $150 million-just one-tenth of 1 percent of the annual cost of treating this disease-the SDP is helping to find ways to treat, cure, or prevent diabetes-which may be one of the best return-on-investments the U.S. government could make.”

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.