Imagine a future where your body produces insulin and type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a distant memory.
Why it matters
Today, a T1D diagnosis means living with the challenges of insulin therapy and the knowledge that your average life expectancy is shorter than that of someone without T1D. JDRF wants to change that reality by developing therapies that improve life expectancy and quality of life for people with T1D. That’s why we devote a large portion of our research funding to our Restoration Program. Its aim: restore the body’s ability to create insulin-producing islets and prevent the immune system from attacking and destroying those cells.
When we achieve that goal, a diagnosis of T1D will no longer mean a lifetime with the disease and all the burdens that it carries. Instead, it will be a manageable and ultimately reversible illness without the threat of long- and short-term complications.
Our pioneering research
For more than a decade, JDRF has funded studies to unravel the mysteries of T1D and develop therapeutic interventions to bring the body back to normal after the disease strikes. Each one has added to our understanding of what’s necessary to stop the immune system from destroying insulin-producing islets cells, keep these cells healthy and functional, and restore the body’s normal ability to produce insulin.
Researchers have already shown that the body has the ability to increase insulin production in women with T1D during pregnancy. Now we’re investigating several promising therapeutic strategies, including drugs that form new beta cells, reprogram other cells in the body to become insulin-producing cells and prevent or reverse the loss of beta cell function. Our scientists have also made progress in understanding the mechanisms of the autoimmune attack that causes T1D, opening the way to new immune therapies that will stop the disease in its tracks. JDRF-supported research is leading to the development of a new generation of immune therapies that specifically target the defective components in T1D, leaving the rest of the immune system intact. These and other discoveries have brought us closer to a cure than we imagined a decade ago, and we won’t stop until we find one.
We're not just imagining a world without T1D. We're making it happen.
Drug Repurposing Trial to Treat T1D
Initial findings from a JDRF-funded clinical trial using the cancer drug Gleevec suggest that the drug may have positive effects in T1D. The study compared adults with recent-onset T1D treated with Gleevec to a placebo-treated group. Participants treated with Gleevec maintained better C-peptide levels—a sign of physiological insulin production—and needed less supplemental insulin than a control group. Investigators hope to launch a similar trial to see if the drug can also benefit children with new-onset disease.Read More
Cell Conversion Advances Could Benefit Restoration Therapies
Two JDRF-funded researchers announce significant progress toward restoring biological insulin production through cell conversion. They chemically stimulated pancreatic alpha cells to change into functional beta-like cells with an eye toward potentially regenerating insulin-producing beta cell mass.Read More
Taking a Small Step Toward Immune Therapies with Nanoparticles
JDRF partners with AnTolRx, a developer of nanoparticle-based therapies to treat autoimmune diseases, to use the company’s technology for T1D. Re-educating the immune system to prevent attacks on beta cells is an important strategy in the effort to protect and expand beta cell mass.Read More
Partnership Generates Hope for Regeneration
A partnership between JDRF and pharmaceutical company Novartis yields results that suggest new targets for the development of drugs to stimulate the creation of new beta cells.Read More
Drug cocktail shows promise in preserving islet cell survival
A new study shows that a specific combination of immune-therapy drugs may help insulin-producing islet cells survive and function better in people with T1D.Read more
Could a common blood pressure drug be an effective T1D beta cell therapy?
JDRF-funded researchers found that the blood pressure drug verapamil caused remission of T1D in laboratory mice. Now we’re testing it in human clinical trials.Read more
Trigger for development of insulin-producing cells identified
In 2011, scientists revealed that an enzyme can signal the production of new insulin-producing pancreatic cells in mice, suggesting new treatment possibilities.Read more
Drug pipeline created to promote cell regeneration and survival
In 2009, JDRF partnered with the Genomics Institute of Novartis (GNF) to develop new drugs to promote the restoration and survival of insulin-producing cells.Read more
Meet the experts leading restoration research.
Andrew Rakeman, Ph.D.
Andrew Rakeman is director of discovery research. He focuses on islet cell regeneration and immune therapies.
Andrew Rakeman, Ph.D.
Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D.
Sanjoy Dutta is associate vice president, translational development for JDRF, where he focuses on managing and developing glucose control research.
Sanjoy Dutta, Ph.D.
Explore more life-changing research
Find out why each of these research areas is part of the plan for a world without T1D.