OUR RESEARCH PORTFOLIO THREE PRIORITY AREAS FOR T1D RESEARCH: CURE || TREAT || PREVENT
Curing T1D means restoring the body’s ability to regulate glucose and finding a way for insulin producing beta cells to live in the body. There are two ways to do this: the REGENERATION of beta cells or the REPLACEMENT of beta cells.
JDRF funds projects in Australia tackling both approaches.
In T1D, beta cells are stressed, hastening the autoimmune process that leads to their death. Beta cells, however, can persist long after T1D diagnosis, and in certain situations the body can even regrow new beta cells. This gives JDRF-funded researchers tools to develop therapies that relieve beta cell stress and promote their survival and regrowth.
One known way to cure T1D—at least for a short time—is to replace destroyed beta cells with cells that make insulin, and protect them so that they can function for a very long time.
Here are the numbers:
- 104 islet transplants have been performed in 62 recipients in Australia
- 18 people remain insulin independent because of an islet transplant
Currently, only a small portion of people living with T1D can get this treatment because of the challenges of producing beta cells, and because a transplant recipient must also take medications to protect the implanted beta cells for the rest of his or her life.
We’re working on developing renewable beta cell sources, findings ways to reduce or remove the need for immunosuppressive medications, and shielding the beta cells from immune attack with encapsulation.
Daily management of T1D remains a significant challenge. Our treat portfolio includes research in the development of “artificial pancreas” systems, new technology and guidelines to improve glucose control, and the prevention of T1D complications.
An artificial pancreas, or closed loop insulin pump system, is the ultimate tech treatment goal. They monitor blood-glucose levels with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and use an algorithm to automatically provide the right amount of insulin at the right time — much like a pancreas does naturally. The world’s longest and largest at home trial of a hybrid closed loop system is taking place in Australia.
GLUCOSE CONTROL AND COMPLICATIONS
We now know that complications from T1D can be reduced by up to 76% with tight blood glucose control.
We are working on ways to increase access to technology to make glucose control easier to manage, as well as improving food and exercise guidelines and education.
In addition, we are researching predictive markers of complications and therapies for kidney and eye disease – the most common complications from T1D.
In Australia, T1D is one of the most common chronic conditions among children. JDRF is funding projects that aim to discover the causes of T1D, so that we can ultimately find ways to prevent it.
The Australian ENDIA study is the world’s largest study investigating environmental factors that might contribute to – or protect against – T1D development, starting from pregnancy. If we understand these factors, we can modify them to prevent T1D in the future.
SCREENING FOR RISK
Screening programs – like Type1Screen in Australia – aim to identify people in the population who are at an increased risk of T1D, before they develop symptoms. People who are found to be at risk can then enrol in clinical trials of therapies that aim to delay or prevent T1D.
With JDRF’s support, researchers are developing immunotherapies that can delay the onset of T1D for several years, and ground-breaking vaccines that could protect children against the disease.
PANELS REVIEW OUR RESEARCH
PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY PANEL
Chair: A/Prof Anandwardhan Hardikar
A/Prof Stuart Mannering
Prof Trevor Biden
Prof Tim Jones
Dr Tom Brodnicki
A/Prof Cecile King
LAY REVIEW PANEL
Chair: Ms Christine Garberg
Dr Gerard Cudmore
Mr Stephen Higgs
Ms Dianne Peach
Dr Tim Porter
Dr Jan Walker
Dr Naomi Harris
ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY PANEL
Chair: Dr Jane Overland
Ms Deborah Foote
Ms Erica Wright