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New cases of Type 1 diabetes in young children to double by 2020: The Lancet

March 12, 2017

The JDRF-funded artificial pancreas program, now in clinical trials, was recently found to successfully control blood sugar levels, helping to prevent some of the more serious complications associated with diabetes.  Research shows that good blood-sugar control is key in reducing the risk of devastating long-term complications of the disease, such as blindness and kidney disease -- but the fear of low blood-sugar emergencies often prevents people from achieving tight control and remains a constant concern for those who manage their diabetes well.  The development of an artificial pancreas system is an essential step towards an ultimate cure for Type 1 diabetes ?? a "bridge to a cure." 

Another important field of research JDRF is funding is complications therapies.  Diabetes patients suffer many severe complications, including macular edema, which can cause impairment, blurriness or blindness. Early-stage clinical trials showed a new topical drug was safe and may offer researchers a new approach to prevent and treat diabetic macular edema.

Beta Cell Therapies are another major focus of JDRF, as they aim to restore the body's ability to make insulin ?? an integral step in the search for a cure.  JDRF funded $39 million in 2009 for Beta Cell Therapies, combining two overlapping therapeutic areas: regeneration (triggering the body to re-grow insulin-producing beta cells) and replacement (replacing the beta cells lost to type 1 diabetics).  A recent development in this field is the discovery of why insulin-producing beta cells lose their ability to regenerate with age, and the identification of proteins that may control this process.

SOURCE Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation