Last week, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced
a plan outlining their diabetes research strategy over the next decade that
will aim to benefit Americans living with, or at risk for diabetes and its
complications. At a time when the
incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is rising, this commitment to medical research
is welcome news for the diabetes community.
Under the plan, NIH identified 10 areas of focus in diabetes
research with the greatest potential to improve diabetes treatments and identify
ways to keep more people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes healthy. The plan included recommendations sought by
the NIH and Congress from the lay diabetes community and diabetes scientific
experts, including JDRF.
Many of these areas complement JDRF’s research programs for
type 1 diabetes, including goals to accelerate the discovery of autoimmune
mechanisms at work in type 1 diabetes, and research into biology of
insulin-producing beta cells. NIH is
also dedicating research toward the development of artificial pancreas
technologies to improve management of blood glucose levels, and the prevention of
complications of diabetes including blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney
disease, and nerve damage.
Furthermore, NIH will continue to emphasize clinical research in humans,
which has already led to effective methods of managing diabetes and preventing
complications. This includes a study
conducted by the NIH’s National Eye Institute and the Diabetic Retinopathy
Clinical Research Network (DRCR) that showed that a drug, when combined with
the current standard treatment of laser therapy, improved vision significantly
for people with diabetic eye disease.
Clinical trials supported by the NIH on artificial pancreas systems and
its components like continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have demonstrated
improvements in HbA1c and overall glucose control in people with type 1
JDRF and NIH’s shared goals of better treatments and a cure
for diabetes underscores the importance of federal programs like the Special
Diabetes Program (SDP), which represents 35 percent of all the federal research
on type 1 diabetes. Established by Congress in 1997, the SDP supplements
annually appropriated NIH-research funding with a mandatory funding stream for
type 1 diabetes research. The combination of federal diabetes research funding
and private investments through JDRF has created one of the most effective
public-private partnerships focused on disease research.
Total costs of diabetes reached an estimated $174 billion in
2007 in the U.S. If current trends continue, a CDC modeling
study predicts that one in three Americans may be living with diabetes by the
year 2050. And as people with diabetes
are living longer, it is through ambitious research programs like the NIH’s diabetes
plan that will help lessen, and ultimately eliminate the burden of this disease
from our healthcare system.
Although this is great news, we need EVERYONE to join to become an advocate so that we can continue the funding necessary to promote a cure. Please join JDRF advocacy today. http://www.jdrf.org/advocacy OR text ACTION to 37420 No money required - only a willingness to receive periodic emails and forward information to your lawmakers. JDRF makes this easy and very fast. It is a WIN-WIN situation. Our children and adults with type 1 deserve your help.