The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, two of the largest private funders of type 1 (T1D) diabetes programs, have announced a formal collaboration to accelerate the pace of diabetes research and deliver better treatments, devices, and diagnostics for improving the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.
Since 2007, the trust has awarded $14 million to JDRF to support T1D research and development projects. The first project to be supported under the new arrangement will be the T1D Clinical Development Research Roadmap, which aims to generate a strategic plan to serve as a framework for clinical research funding decisions involving patients with established T1D. Based on a comprehensive synthesis of knowledge regarding the current T1D clinical development landscape, the plan will include strategies to effectively characterize the various stages of the disease and a review of clinical development therapy opportunities.
The second initiative to be supported by the collaboration is the Bioimaging Project, an effort to develop new diagnostic technologies to non-invasively determine the presence and functional activity of insulin-producing beta cells in a person's pancreas. Known as beta cell imaging, these technologies aim to overcome one of the key challenges in the T1D field: directly assessing the cells within the pancreas responsible for normal insulin production. The new technologies will help in multiple areas of T1D research, including early detection of diabetes, monitoring of transplanted or regenerated beta cells, monitoring of certain new therapies during clinical trials, and following the progression of T1D in a person over time.
The collaboration also has launched a request for proposals to develop and deliver more accurate and reliable sensors that would measure a person's blood glucose (sugar) levels on a continuous basis. Building upon the success of current continuous glucose monitoring technologies, the initiative seeks to advance these sensors to the next generation and provide users with more accurate and reliable blood glucose measurements. Improved blood glucose sensors will enable T1D patients to make better insulin dosing decisions.
"JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust are committed to producing results that create a positive impact in the lives of individuals with type 1 diabetes today," said Dana Ball, Helmsley T1D program director. "This collaborative effort is intended to advance critical research and development that will translate to better treatments and devices for people with type 1 diabetes."