JDRF Awards International Diabetes Center Grant to Investigate the Use of Intranasal Insulin Delivery

Investigators seek to examine intranasal insulin for treatment of type 1 diabetes on the heels of groundbreaking research using similar treatments for Alzheimer’s disease


New York, May 3, 2018 – JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, announces the awarding of a research grant to International Diabetes Center (IDC) in Minneapolis. The two-year $525,000 grant will be used to fund the study of intranasal insulin use by individuals with long-standing T1D who have significantly impaired ability to sense low blood sugar, medically referred to as hypoglycemia unawareness.

“Over time, people with T1D who experience frequent hypoglycemia develop an impaired ability to sense the symptoms and often miss the initial warning signs that can help save them from severe medical episodes,” explains Marlon Pragnell, Ph.D., JDRF associate director of research. “This study delves into an innovative approach to administering insulin that can potentially be a significant help to the community. The results will help determine whether this method of delivering insulin is safe and effective at helping patients to better recognize and respond when they are hypoglycemic.”

Led by IDC Medical Director Anders L. Carlson, M.D., the study will be carried out as a two-phase pilot to determine if administering insulin through the nose directly to the brain via the olfactory nerves can restore or improve cognition of hypoglycemic symptoms. Dr. Carlson and IDC will partner with HealthPartners Institute’s Center for Memory & Aging, where researchers are pioneering the use of intranasal drug delivery as a way to directly administer insulin to the brain in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s very exciting to think of using insulin in this new way, which has not been studied before in type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Carlson. “This will help answer bigger questions about the brain function of people during periods of hypoglycemia. That is a major question that remains unsolved.”

Distinct from an earlier JDRF-funded clinical study using Afrezza – the inhaled insulin for improved glucose control – which is now in the market for the treatment of all insulin-requiring diabetes, this IDC study aims to address a significant limitation afflicting the T1D community and will further advance research toward the goal of finding a cure for T1D. This is the first study JDRF is funding for intranasal insulin. The use of intranasal insulin treatments is not intended to replace traditional insulin therapies, nor expected to change blood glucose levels.


About T1D
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

About JDRF
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

About International Diabetes Center
Founded in 1967, International Diabetes Center (IDC) provides world-class diabetes care, education, publications and research that meet the needs of people with diabetes and their families. It includes more than 80 health care professionals involved in research and education, along with the collaboration of professionals across HealthPartners to ensure patients receive the best possible diabetes care. IDC is part of HealthPartners Institute, which is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. For more information, visit www.internationaldiabetescenter.com.


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