US government extends special research programme for type 1 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on April 11, 2014

The United States government has announced funding of $150 million for research into type 1 diabetes with a leading global charity calling for more governments to follow the example.

The US Senate has agreed to extend an important research programme for type 1 diabetes, the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) which aims to forward progress in several areas of type 1 diabetes research.


Nearly 26 million adults and children are living with diabetes in the US and another 79 million have prediabetes

Most notably the research will look at identifying genetic and environmental causes of type 1 diabetes, preventing or reversing type 1 diabetes, such as by modifying the immune system and developing new islet cell transplantation.

Research will also look at preventing or reversing hypoglycaemia, such as through artificial pancreas technology, preventing and reducing complications associated with type 1 diabetes and ways of attracting new research talent and applying new research technologies.

To date, the Special Diabetes Programme has led to advances in artificial pancreas technology and therapies to reverse vision loss in people with retinopathy and prevent kidney failure.

According to leading diabetes charity, JDRF, the funding has implications beyond the US as new medication, therapies and new understanding can be applied worldwide.

JDRF’s UK branch say that funding for research into type 1 diabetes from the UK’s government has decreased and it is urging the UK Government to reverse this decline.

According to the American Diabetes Association funding for research from the government is vital both for research and prevention. It pointed out that the SDP clinical research has demonstrated progress in delaying the full onset of type 1 diabetes in some participants.

‘The continued support for this program by Congress will lead to a better understanding of the genetic and environmental causes of the disease that will help prevent, treat and reverse some of the long term complications associated with type 1 diabetes,’ said Gina Gavlak, chair of the association’s National Advocacy Committee.

‘It provides crucial funding for research trials that brings us closer to a cure for this deadly epidemic, and supports essential studies that positively impact the lives of people living with diabetes,’ she added.

According to the association, each year, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes has a devastating toll on the physical, emotional and fiscal health of the country. Nearly 26 million adults and children are living with diabetes in the US and another 79 million have prediabetes, placing them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

‘By extending the Special Diabetes Programme, Congress has afforded access to essential research, treatment and prevention programmes that improve the lives of the millions of people living with diabetes, and those at risk,’ added Gavlak.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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