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Find out the latest news about JDRF's research and fundraising events.


Superstar JDRF supporter Nick Jonas criticises 'ignorant comments' and calls for type 1 and type 2 diabetes understanding

The former teen heartthrob, famous for the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum pop band the Jonas Brothers he formed alongside his two siblings, responded passionately on Twitter yesterday to what he referred to as 'ignorant comments'  from a fitness company that tweeted a fake Coca-Cola advert featuring the slogan 'open diabetes'. 

Jonas interpreted the tweet as offensive to people living with type 1 diabetes.

He also called for increased sensitivity to all health conditions and proper education on the cause of type 1 diabetes as well as on the day-to-day experiences of those living with the condition.

Nick Jonas, 22, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 13. He has since spoken of how he lost over a stone in two to three weeks before being diagnosed. The singer left a Jonas Brothers tour to consult with a doctor who found his glucose levels were very high. This, however, did not prevent Nick from reaching stardom  and he re-joined the tour three days later.

After tweeting his disappointment on Twitter the singer received a wealth of support from many people who also live with type 1 diabetes and face misconceptions regarding the condition as part of day-to-day life.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic life-long condition where a person's pancreas produces no insulin. The exact cause of the condition is unknown but is not linked to lifestyle or diet. Type 2 diabetes meanwhile is when a person's body is unable to make enough insulin.

Because the precise causes of type 1 diabetes are not known, and type 2 has a greater media and public profile, many myths about type 1 diabetes continue to prevail. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating the wrong foods or too much sugar. In fact, it isn't caused by anything that the child or parents did or didn't do.

The debate on social media touched upon confusions surrounding what is known as double diabetes. Double diabetes is a term that is used to refer to a person with type 1 who develops insulin resistance and extra risk of cardiovascular problems (such as heart disease and strokes) in a way that is similar to people who develop type 2 diabetes. 

Find out more about double diabetes.


Young climber tackling Snowdon for JDRF on behalf of best friend with type 1 diabetes backed by Hollywood superstar Michael Sheen

A six year-old climbing extraordinaire, Isaac Norton, from south Wales will next month take on the mighty Welsh peak, Mount Snowdon to raise money for JDRF after being inspired by his best friend Fin, who has Type 1 diabetes.

Isaac, a keen climber will undertake the impressive feat alongside his father, Darren, his grandfather, Vaughan, and Fin’s father, Andrew.  A challenge for even the most seasoned walkers, this undertaking is made even more impressive as Isaac is six years of age. Mount Snowdon in northern Wales reaches a height of 1,085 metres, or more than 3700 feet and is the highest point in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands. Climbing the peak really is a tall order.

Isaac’s expedition has already received celebrity recognition and support. Michael Sheen, south Wales native and Hollywood star of films such as Twilight, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, has voiced his support for the climb and the families on Twitter.

The actor retweeted Isaac’s mum and added ‘not every day a six year old climbs highest mountain in Wales to help his best friend!’

Fin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2012 when he was only two years old. Fin’s mother, Bethan Gough, had observed how he was drinking and going to the bathroom more often than was expected. Recognising these as some of the signs of type 1 diabetes she took Fin to a local Out of Hours Emergency department where he was diagnosed immediately with the condition and admitted to hospital for five days. The family were then given the necessary information on type 1 diabetes, including on giving Fin daily insulin injections. Bethan has said that this was akin to receiving “a crash course in keeping our son alive”.

This inspired Isaac to combine his love for climbing with his wish to help his friend. He decided to tackle the Welsh peak to raise money for JDRF. The two boys have been friends since nursery school, sharing a common love for rugby and an enthusiasm for life. Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, has learnt how to do Fin's blood tests and administer his insulin so that he is able to go to Isaac’s house after school to play.

Isaac had the idea to climb Snowdon after conquering Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, also in Wales. After what his parents have called a period of ‘nagging’ from Isaac on the subject of climbing Snowdon it was suggested that, as this was such a big challenge for someone his age, he should climb the peak on behalf of a charity. He immediately expressed a wish to help Fin by raising money for JDRF. When asked why he chose this charity Isaac replied that “it makes [him] really sad that Fin has to wear a pump and have lots of injections”.

The fundraising for Isaac’s expedition has been astonishing. Isaac and his mother Rebekah set up a JustGiving page on the 4th June and the page had received £500 in donations by the next day. Isaac himself had originally set a target to reach £1000, but he and his family set what was then seen as a more ‘realistic’ target of £250. However the donations kept flooding in, far exceeding this initial target and the overall figure, from numerous donations, stands at a hugely impressive £1,190.00 (June 22nd). Fin was so grateful at his friend’s kindness that wanted to donate all his birthday money to say thank you! In the end he settled on donating £15 of his birthday money to be the one to take the total raised to £1000.

Bethan Gough, Fin’s mother, said of Isaac’s expedition:

“Our dream for Fin would be for there to one day be a cure which we know JDRF are actively working on. When Rebekah told me that Isaac wanted to climb Snowdon for Fin I was so overwhelmed and emotional as it's such a massive feat for a six year old. We are all travelling up to north Wales to be there when Isaac achieves his goal as we are so grateful to him for what he is doing.”

Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, added:

“Isaac wants to raise lots of money so that hopefully a cure will be found one day, and Fin won't have to wear a pump anymore. I have had to explain to Isaac that what he's doing won't make Fin better straight away, because he's getting so excited as he's seeing the total increase, and keeps saying 'oh Fin is going to get better even sooner now!' But he knows that it will help make a difference to Fin and others with type 1, and he's thrilled about that.”

The ever-modest Isaac has himself acknowledged the difficulty he faces, conceding that the expedition will not be easy, but has shown a remarkable determination to reach the summit for his best friend.

 To donate click here.

Are you inspired by Isaac's climbing challenge? You could run, walk, swim or even cycle from Brussels to Paris for JDRF! 


Combined treatment for type 1 diabetes could stop the immune system in its tracks

JDRF researchers in California and Italy have successfully used ‘gene therapy’ to reverse the immune attack behind type 1 diabetes in mice.

Mice that received the treatment not only kept their remaining insulin-producing beta cells, but also stabilised their blood glucose levels without external insulin.

The researchers, led by Professor Maria Grazia Roncarolo, developed the treatment by combining two kinds of therapy that have shown promise for treating autoimmune conditions in the past. The first, gene therapy, saw them transfer part of a gene involved in insulin production into liver cells. This spurred the mice’s immune systems into stopping any rogue immune cells that might try to kill off insulin-producing cells. As a result, no more of these rogue cells were able to infiltrate the pancreas, even up to 33 weeks after the therapy. In comparison, mice that did not receive gene therapy had lost 80% of their insulin-producing cells after 33 weeks.

However, this part of the treatment did not reduce the number of immune cells present – it only maintained it. To allow the mice to restore their blood glucose levels, the researchers then used a single dose of a drug that can kill off immune cells. After this, 75% of the mice had blood glucose levels that stayed low for many weeks without needing external insulin.

The drug, called a monoclonal antibody, is often used after organ transplants to stop the immune system rejecting the organ. But there are issues with using these drugs continuously, as the body needs its immune system to fight off illnesses. So the fact that the treatment only needed a single dose – thanks to the addition of the gene therapy – is very promising.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF in the UK, said: ‘Over the last few years our understanding of how the immune system works in health and in type 1 diabetes has grown enormously. This innovative study has come up with a novel way of helping the immune system bring the attack on insulin producing beta cells under control, and even reverse it.

‘Gene therapy treatments are beginning to be tested in people now, so despite a long research journey ahead, approaches like this one may one day be able to help people with type 1 diabetes.'

The research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


Ride to Cure Diabetes raises impressive £15,000 – with more to come

JDRF's annual Ride to Cure Diabetes event in London has raised nearly £15,000. The event took place for the seventh year on 12 June 2015 outside the iconic Royal Exchange building in the City of London. Teams are still competing for the top fundraising prize and many companies offer matched giving to double the team fundraising total.

Energy was high, and the competitive spirit was alive under the marquee as 27 teams competed against each other over two sessions to see which team could peddle the furthest in 40 minutes. The team champions this year were Sweet Spin Music from Schroders, who peddled a total distance of 29,993m. The King of the Ride was Barry O’Sullivan who rode 6,451m and the Queen of the Ride was Emma-Lea Davis with a distance of 5,497m.

There were 16 volunteers hand to make sure the entire day ran smoothly, and we couldn’t have done it without their help. A big thank you to our sponsors AIG, as well as BOOM Cycle, whose MCs kept the crowd energised and excited.

Elizabeth Rowley, Regional Fundraiser for London, said: 'We’re so glad that this event is able to raise more vital funds for type 1 diabetes research year-on-year and hope next year’s event will be bigger and better than ever! '


The Duchess of Cornwall is guest of honour at type 1 diabetes charity event

The Duchess of Cornwall  was guest of honour at a special charity preview of Art Antiques London Party in the Park in support of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

Her Royal Highness, who became President of the charity in 2012, met guests including music icon Boy George, Hollywood and stage actor Rory Kinnear, Emmy-award winning actress Susan Hampshire, Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes and his wife Lady Fellowes, Olympic gold-medallist Amy Williams MBE and Olympic gold-medallist Ben Ainslie CBE. Her Royal Highness also met Home Secretary Theresa May, who announced two years ago that she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Art Antiques London Party in the Park is an annual event held in Kensington Gardens to showcase collections of traditional and contemporary art, antiques and jewellery from more than 70 exhibitors.

Boy George treated last night's guests to a vocal performance which demonstrated the talent that has seen him sell over 50 million albums in his lifetime. 

The singer, who recently won an Ivor Novello award for outstanding contribution to British music, said: “Much of my music is about positivity and joy – and my charity work is done in the same spirit. JDRF is a special organisation supporting vital research into type 1 diabetes.”

Boy George spoke to the crowd about a the diagnosis of a close friend’s child with type 1 diabetes, saying “I get it. I see what she goes through.”
The event was staged for the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF to boost its mission to find the cure for the condition, through the support of world-class class scientific research in the UK and abroad.

The Duchess of Cornwall first became involved with the charity when she met JDRF supporters affected by type 1 diabetes in Cambridge in 2012. She has subsequently met talented JDRF-funded researchers at University College Hospital in London and at the University of Dundee.

Lord Fellowes, known to his friends as Julian, is committed to using his profile to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and JDRF. Last year, he supported a JDRF fundraising dinner at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, where Downton Abbey is filmed. He also allowed Downton Abbey’s ‘Atticus Aldridge’ character to be named through a 2013 auction for the charity.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: “What a spectacularly successful evening. We are so grateful to our President, the Duchess of Cornwall, for joining us, for her ongoing and incredibly valuable support. Thank you also to everyone who came along.”

She added: “JDRF works across the UK and the wider world for a day when type 1 diabetes no longer exists. The cure will be found – it’s just a question of time, money and excellent research.” 


Music legend Boy George to sing for JDRF and type 1 diabetes research

New Romantic icon, artist and DJ Boy George will attend and perform at Art Antiques London Party in the Park, in Kensington on Wednesday (June 10).

The auction event will support JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity, in its mission to find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

Boy George has sold over 50 million albums and has appeared in the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons of All Time. As well as achieving worldwide fame with Culture Club, he is one of the most influential DJs in the history of house music.

Speaking to JDRF, he said: “Much of my music is about positivity and joy – and my charity work is done in the same spirit. JDRF is a special organisation supporting vital research into type 1 diabetes.”

Michael Connellan of JDRF said: “We are utterly thrilled and very thankful to have Boy George supporting us. His support will help us raise greater national awareness of type 1 diabetes and the challenges it brings.”

Boy George is only one of a host of stars attending the June 10 event. Those who wish to support JDRF by attending the event should click here to find out more.


Downton Abbey creator Lord Fellowes to appear for JDRF next week

Lord Fellowes – a titan of Britain’s cultural scene and creator of Downton Abbey – is to attend a glittering fundraising event for JDRF this June with his wife the Lady Fellowes.

June 10 will see the couple appear at Art Antiques London Party in the Park, which will take place in a purpose-built pavilion in Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall.  There will also be a fabulous auction with top luxury prizes on offer – and some tickets are still available.

Known to his friends as Julian, Lord Fellowes is committed to using his profile to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and JDRF. Last year, he attended a JDRF fundraising dinner at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, where Downton Abbey is filmed.

He will be joined on June 10 by patron of the event Susan Hampshire, OBE, the Emmy Award-winning actress well known for her roles in Monarch of the Glen and The Forsyte Saga.

Click here to purchase a ticket for next week’s event, or check out our range of glitzy and glamourous events taking place around the UK.


Duchess of Cornwall to grace JDRF event

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall is to attend a JDRF party in her role as President of the charity.

The Duchess of Cornwall became President of JDRF in 2012 after meeting JDRF supporters affected by type 1 diabetes in Cambridge. She has subsequently shown her commitment to the role by publically meeting JDRF-funded researchers at University College Hospital in London and at the University of Dundee in Scotland. The visits garnered substantial media interest.

The visit to Dundee saw Her Royal Highness learn about the work of Professor Rory McCrimmon, who is undertaking world-leading research into ways to combat hypoglycaemia. Speaking at the time, JDRF Chief Executive Karen Addington said: “We are deeply grateful for her ongoing support as President. Her presence provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase the vital research that Professor McCrimmon and his team do.”

The Duchess of Cornwall will attend JDRF’s Art Antiques London Party in the Park, in Kensington, on June 10. Lord Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, and Emmy Award-winning actress Susan Hampshire will also be present.

Those who wish to support JDRF by attending the event should click here to find out more.


Wacky ‘Scumrun’ car rally raises an amazing £126,000 for JDRF

A spectacular four-day charity rally is on track to raise a stunning £126,000 to support JDRF's type 1 diabetes research – and has seen a lot of fun and mischief on the way.

Over 300 participants and their wacky decorated cars took part in the Scumrun car rally, which saw petrolheads drive old motors – under £500 in value – onto a ferry at Dover and then on to a Continental route that included stops at Nice, Zurich and the Nürburgring.

The launch event on May 14 in Dover was attended by celebrity ‘voice of motoring’ Sally Traffic – well known to listeners of BBC Radio 2 for her travel reports. Voted as one of the most attractive female voices on UK radio in a Radio Times poll, she said: 'I’m delighted to be supporting the tenth year of Scumrun for JDRF!  I’ve heard many adventurous travel tales as my time as a traffic broadcaster.  This is a great opportunity for people to have theirs – all while raising money for an important cause.'

Louise Ingham of JDRF said: 'Thank you so much to the Scumrun organisers, participants, Sally Traffic and all those who helped raise this phenomenal amount.'


Seasonal switch: Genes behind type 1 diabetes turn on and off across the year

JDRF researchers at the University of Cambridge have found evidence that our immune systems change with the seasons – a finding that suggests a seasonal link to type 1 diabetes.

Scientists have known for some time that diagnosis rates of various conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes, vary with the seasons. However, this is the first time that researchers have shown that this may be down to seasonal changes in how our immune systems function.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, shows that the activity of almost a quarter of our genes differs according to the time of year, with some more active in winter and others more active in summer. This seasonality affects our immune cells and the composition of our blood and fat tissue.

‘This is a really surprising – and serendipitous – discovery as it could change how we identify the effects of the genes behind type 1 diabetes,’ said Professor John Todd, Director of the JDRF/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

‘In some ways, it’s obvious – it helps explain why so many diseases, from heart disease to mental illness, are much worse in the winter months – but no one had appreciated the extent to which this actually occurred. The implications for how we treat conditions like type 1 diabetes, and even how we plan our research studies, could be profound.’

An international team, led by researchers from the JDRF/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory, examined blood samples from over 16,000 people living in both the northern and southern hemispheres, in countries including the UK, USA, Iceland, Australia and The Gambia.

They found that thousands of genes were either more or less active depending on what time of year the samples were taken. One gene known as ARNTL was particularly interesting as previous studies have found that this gene suppresses inflammation, the body’s response to infection. The gene was found to be less active in winter, suggesting levels of inflammation should be higher during those months. Inflammation is a risk factor for a range of diseases – including autoimmune conditions such as type 1 – so it may be that in winter, the 'threshold' at which these conditions could be triggered could be more easily reached in those at greatest risk. 

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: ‘We have long known there are more diagnoses of type 1 diabetes in winter. This study begins to reveal why. It identifies a biological mechanism we didn’t previously know of, which leaves the body seasonally more prone to the autoimmune attack seen in type 1 diabetes.’

‘While we all love winter sun, flying south for the whole of each winter isn’t something anyone can practically recommend as a way of preventing type 1 diabetes. But this new insight does open new avenues of research that could help untangle the complex web of genetic and environmental factors behind a diagnosis.’

Image: Four Seasons from Wikimedia Commons user Bdk, used under a Creative Commons licence.


First natural birth supported by artificial pancreas

A UK woman with type 1 diabetes has become the first in the world to use the artificial pancreas to help herself give birth naturally.

Catriona Finlayson-Wilkins gave birth to her son Euan at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Tuesday.

The artificial pancreas, which was developed by JDRF-funded researchers at the University of Cambridge, combines a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump to automatically manage blood glucose levels.

It has previously been used in three other pregnancies, but all three women gave birth by caesarean section.

They and Ms Finlayson-Wilkins were part of a study looking at whether the pioneering technology can help support pregnant women with diabetes in managing their blood glucose levels.

Although good management of blood glucose levels is important at all stages of life, it is especially vital during pregnancy to minimise the risks to mother and baby. However, pregnancy can also make managing blood glucose levels much more difficult, as Dr Helen Murphy, who led the trial, explained: ‘Treating diabetes in pregnancy can be particularly challenging because hormone levels are constantly changing and blood sugars can be difficult to predict.’

She added that she hopes the trial will show the benefits of the artificial pancreas during pregnancy for women with type 1 diabetes: ‘It’s an exciting new technology that may help us to treat diabetes in pregnancy and create a group of healthier mothers and babies.’

Although this trial is no longer recruiting, Dr Murphy is also running another study looking at the benefits of continuous glucose monitors during pregnancy. If you would like to take part in that trial, you can find more information on this page.

In addition, if you have type 1 diabetes and are thinking of starting a family, you can download our free pregnancy toolkit here.




JDRF announced as main charity partner for Great Scottish Events

JDRF is delighted to have been announced as the main charity partner for Great Scottish Events this summer.

The event takes place on Sunday 21 June 2015 at Holyrood Park, and allows JDRF supporters to have exclusive FREE ENTRY to any of the events on the day by pledging to raise a minimum of £50 for JDRF. Join the JDRF team today by registering here.

The events on the day include a fantastic mixture of runs and walks for all ages and abilities.  These include:

  • Great Scottish Summer Runs 5k & 10k – Start time 9.30am
  • The Great Scottish Walk 20k – Start time 10.00am
  • The Great Scottish Walk 10k – Start time 11am
  • The Golden Mile Walk – Start time 11.30am (Walk or stroll one, two, or three miles – you choose the distance)
  • The Great Scottish Toddle – Start time 1pm (For children under six years of age with infants in buggies also welcome)

This promises to be a fantastic day out for the whole family with plenty of food and entertainment available on the day – why not grab the picnic blanket and the whole family and have a day out with activities available for kids of any age, teenagers, parents and grandparents to get involved in.

It really doesn’t matter what level of ability you have, there’s an activity for beginners up to advanced runners and walkers. To make it all worthwhile, you’re not only raising money for JDRF but you’ll also get a medal and a goody bag when you cross the finish lines.

To take part and secure one of JDRF’s free entry places click here to register for the event and pledge to raise a minimum of £50 sponsorship to help support type 1 diabetes research.

Once you have registered for the event we will be in touch and will provide you with a JDRF fundraising pack to help you raise as much money to help us find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

For more information about the event get in touch with Catriona Morrice, Senior Fundraiser at [email protected] or on 07908 155481.


Immune research targets causes of type 1 diabetes

Researchers from the University of Birmingham have identified a new way in which our immune systems are regulated – a discovery that could help us tackle the causes of type 1 diabetes.

Normally, the immune system carefully controls its response to infection and disease to avoid damaging other parts of the body. However, in autoimmune conditions such as type 1, the immune system becomes less well-regulated, allowing it to attack healthy cells and organs as though they were infections.  

This new study looked at why this happens. The team discovered a mechanism that determines whether immune cells can move from the blood into healthy tissue. They believe a failure of this regulation process could contribute to autoimmune conditions such as type 1 and rheumatoid arthritis.

In particular, the researchers saw how one molecule is vital to this whole mechanism. By adding the molecule to immune cells from people with either of these two conditions, the team were able to regain control of the immune cells, stopping them from entering healthy organs in the body.

Professor Ed Rainger, from the University of Birmingham, explained: ‘Our discovery of this new regulatory pathway is very exciting. Not only does it reveal new ways in which our bodies control inflammation, it also indicates that we may be able design new drugs to reverse the loss of this pathway.’

He added: ‘The fact that the new pathway is relevant to both type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, which are quite different conditions, implies a broad applicability to many chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.’

The researchers now hope to test their findings by running clinical trials of drugs that can target this mechanism. If successful, such treatments could be used to disrupt the immune attack that causes type 1, potentially forming part of a cure for the condition.

The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.


Thanks, America – massive $300m investment for type 1 diabetes research agreed by US government

The US Senate has passed legislation for a huge $300m (£200m) funding pot for type 1 diabetes research.

In a boost for JDRF’s mission to find the cure for type 1 diabetes, US Senators approved the country’s Special Diabetes Program (SDP) for two additional years.

This ensures $150m (£100m) can be spent in each of the next two years supporting cutting-edge type 1 diabetes research through the country’s National Institutes of Health.

President Obama is shortly expected to sign the funding into law at the White House.

The Special Diabetes Program has been funded by the US since 1998. Since its inception it has demonstrated results in type 1 diabetes research and has enabled scientists to make significant advances in prevention studies and treatment improvements. These have included the artificial pancreas project.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive at JDRF in the UK, said: 'The renewal of the Special Diabetes Program is excellent news for type 1 diabetes research globally. We congratulate the thousands JDRF of supporters across the United States for approaching their local senators and representatives about why they most vote to renew it.'

She added: 'With our #CountMeIn campaign, JDRF in the UK is calling on candidates standing for the 2015 General Election to take inspiration from across the Atlantic, and to commit to supporting type 1 diabetes medical research if they are elected.'

Join us – learn more about the #CountMeIn campaign.


Researchers harness 'nothing to see here' protein to improve cell transplants

JDRF researchers have found a protein that can protect insulin-producing beta cells from the immune system, potentially paving the way for beta cell transplants that don’t require anti-rejection drugs.

Professor Mark Poznansky and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital had been studying the protein, known as CXCL12, for many years because of its role in the immune system. It has a repellent effect that drives immune cells away from the area where they are produced so that they can fight infection in the rest of the body.

The team then turned this effect on its head, using the protein to repel the immune cells from the beta cells they mistakenly try to attack in type 1 diabetes. When they encased beta cells in a gel coating that contained the protein, and implanted them into mice with type 1, the researchers found the mice produced their own insulin for at least 300 days. This was over 6 times longer than in mice where the cells’ gel coating did not contain any of the protein.

If the work continues to prove successful, it could be used alongside JDRF beta cell research (such as that announced by Professor Doug Melton in October last year), to generate large numbers of implantable, insulin-producing cells that are kept safe from the immune system. This concept, known as encapsulation, would offer people with type 1 the opportunity to regain their insulin-producing cells, eliminating the need for insulin injections and carb counting.

Commenting on the finding, Professor Poznansky said: ‘The encouraging picture painted by our studies to date has led us to the next step in our research. JDRF is now funding a 2-year pilot study to investigate whether this approach of including CXCL12 in the gel capsule will work when greater numbers of capsules are implanted into larger animals.’

He continued: ‘One of the most exciting aspects of CXCL12 is that, if the protein proves safe and effective, its applications could go beyond use in encapsulated cell therapies: it might also be useful in developing drugs to block the autoimmune attack on still-active beta cells in the early stage of the condition, slowing or ultimately preventing the progression to insulin dependency.’

The research was published in the American Journal of Transplantation.


Today, April 10, is Sibling Day. JDRF salutes children and adults who love their brothers and sisters with type 1 diabetes!

Five-year-old Hugo Stroud doesn’t have type 1 diabetes – but he’s committed to helping find the cure. His big sister Bia, who is nine, was diagnosed with the condition four years ago this month, and so little Hugo is a passionate supporter of both her and JDRF.

The Stroud family are well-known JDRF fundraisers in south London, with Hugo himself taking part in two London Bridges Walk to Cure Diabetes events. He gamely tackled the route via buggy, scooter and his dad Andrew’s shoulders.

Young siblings of children living with type 1 diabetes can face the challenge of their brother or sister receiving some inevitable extra parental attention, due to the demands of managing the condition.

When JDRF asked dad Andrew what it was like for Hugo to have a sister with type 1 diabetes, he said: “He knows that Bia needs to have sweets or juice at funny times and they are not treats but medicine because she is poorly (hypo). He doesn’t question this or whine for sweets for himself.”

He added: “Mealtimes always begin with testing Bia and carb counting her food, which Hugo is used to. We have a spare test kit in a kitchen drawer, and sometimes Hugo tests himself as well!”

Andrew explained: “Hugo will come and fetch us if she asks him to, and will also get her bag or her meter. When we were on injections instead of an insulin pump, he would sometimes help to get the needles out of the box. He comes along to the type 1 family support group meetings that I run, and gets involved with the other kids there.”

Hugo was also in the Parliament Square crowds to cheer on his father during the first Ride London 100 cycle event. Also, he tried to lend a hand at his big sister’s school during a cake and book sale for JDRF.

Liz Rowley, JDRF’s Regional Fundraiser for London, said: “People with type 1 diabetes often rely on their amazing families, so when you have a sibling who does everything they can to support you and your needs with type 1, that's a wonderful thing. I'm lucky to have a sister who has been there for me since my diagnosis at age four.

“So Sibling Day is a wonderful opportunity for these committed brothers and sisters to be thanked for everything they do – for their sibling, and for fundraising in their community.”

Find out how you and your family and friends can support JDRF in your local area here.

Siblings and type 1 diabetes research:

Brothers and sisters play a vital role in type 1 diabetes research. Dr Kathleen Gillespie of the University of Bristol is leading a JDRF-funded research study trying to understand why some people get type 1 diabetes and some do not. She explains 'Over the last 30 years our research has focused on relatives of children with type in diabetes. Brothers and sisters have made an enormous contribution; since 1985, 2482 brothers and sisters have joined the BOX study.' 

'The information and vital blood samples they have given us has helped us work out who is at risk of type 1 diabetes. We are now using this information to help us understand why some people develop type 1 diabetes in early childhood while others are not diagnosed until adulthood, or indeed ever. If we can understand what these differences are, we may be able to harness this knowledge to slow or entirely prevent type 1 diabetes.'

The Barts Oxford (BOX) study has been running for 30 years recruiting people who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before they were 21 and their families in Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Today, over 1800 families are taking part in the study. Without their long-term involvement in type 1 research, studies like Dr Gillespie's would not be possible, and we would be a lot further from our goal of preventing type 1 diabetes than we are today.


No, your divorce did NOT cause your child's type 1 diabetes

JDRF has responded to media reports that serious life events in childhood can triple the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

The reports claim children experiencing conflict in the family, separation and divorce, death or illness of a loved one - or even the arrival of a new child or adult in the family - face a raised risk of the condition. They are based on new research from Linköping University, Sweden.

Sarah Johnson of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF said: “What must be remembered is that it’s impossible to live a life without stress, and impossible to create a stress-free childhood for your son or daughter. There's no family in the world that has managed to shield its children from all forms of stress.

“Yes, this study indicates that potentially, life’s inevitable stresses could hasten the development of type 1 diabetes in some people. But while this study looked at a large population of 10,495 families, in fact only 58 children went on to develop type 1 diabetes, so this means it is very hard to draw firm conclusions about how the condition develops.

“Overall, this study acts as a reminder that the mind and body are not separate and that the effects of stress on the immune system should not be forgotten when looking at how type 1 diabetes develops. But the researchers are clear that the risk of developing type 1 diabetes after a serious life event is four times smaller than the risk from having a close relative with the condition.

“The most important thing to remember for families affected by type 1 diabetes is that there is nothing they could have done to prevent their loved one's diagnosis. Nobody should ever feel a shred of guilt. Any headlines that imply otherwise are just plain wrong. Our research is working towards a day when we can prevent type 1 diabetes before it has begun - but we are not there yet.”


Aberdeen ball raises £91,000 to help find type 1 diabetes cure

JDRF Scotland’s 10th annual gala ball has raised a fantastic £91,000 towards finding the cure for type 1 diabetes. The ‘Highland Mist’ themed event was attended by over 220 guests and took place at the Ardoe House Hotel last month in Aberdeen.

The evening was hosted by radio and television personality Grant Stott and included an exclusive drinks reception, a bespoke themed dinner and a live and silent auction. The ballroom was decorated in Scottish Highland colours and guests were treated to modern Celtic dancing from the Scott School of Dancing.

Guests were also told about how the money raised on the night would be going towards JDRF’s work supporting curing, treating and preventing type 1 diabetes. They learnt more about current JDRF funded projects such as smart insulin, the artificial pancreas and encapsulation.

Claire Douglas, regional fundraiser for JDRF Scotland, said: “We would like to thank everyone who attended the ball and those that kindly donated prizes and volunteered their time on the evening. It’s thanks to them and the hard work of the ball committee that the evening was such a huge success.”

She added: “We are also very grateful to our corporate sponsors whose support and generosity was invaluable on the night. We really would not have been able to achieve any of this without everyone’s support.”

See more photos from the event here.

Fancy getting dressed up for JDRF? For an evening of glitz and glamour, find out more about our upcoming events here.


Emerging rugby superstar talks about his type 1 diabetes – and salutes fellow JDRF supporters

Henry Slade is a young man with a very, very exciting few months ahead of him.

His thrilling performances for Exeter Chiefs have seen him hailed as an immense rugby talent – and given him a chance of making the England squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil. 

He wishes, however, that he didn’t have to live with type 1 diabetes. “It’s a ball ache,” he said. “You can’t be spontaneous sometimes. You have to think about what you eat and be mindful of everything you’re consuming. But at the end of the day you can still run, kick and tackle.”

Henry believes his naturally focused and determined mind-set, which helped him rise as a sportsman, has also helped him cope with the demands of the condition. “I’d rather have it myself than my brothers,” he said. “They aren’t obsessive-compulsive like me.”

Speaking to JDRF in the Exeter Chiefs’ impressive and modern Sandy Park stadium on the edge of the city, Henry said that he liked the sound of JDRF’s smart insulin research. He said: “It’s exciting when you hear about it (smart insulin). One injection a week would be a lot better than fifty a week. It could help a lot of people.”

Now 22, Henry was diagnosed when he was 18, in the weekend before his A-Level exams.  He’d been raised by a father with type 1 diabetes. So when his own diagnosis came, it was vexation that he felt, rather than fear of the unknown. “I was frustrated,” he said. “I’d lived it with my dad. I knew that he always needed to be prepared. I’d always hated needles. It took me about 20 minutes to do my first insulin injection.

“Obviously it’s a serious condition. There’s no getting around that. But it’s okay as long as you manage yourself. I check my blood sugar levels about eight to ten times a day. I test before every training session and in between as well.”

Henry isn’t the only rugby star trying to establish himself in the England squad while balancing the demands of type 1 diabetes. Fellow JDRF supporter Chris Pennell, of the Worcester Warriors, also lives with the condition. “When we’ve had England camps we’ve had a few good chats about it,” said Henry, adding that the pair have swapped notes on the effects of adrenaline on blood glucose levels. “He has a jab at half time,” said Henry. “I haven’t done that yet.”

Being an international-level athlete hasn’t protected Henry from being asked a few dumb questions about his condition by people who don’t understand type 1 diabetes. “People would say I just got it from eating too many sweets,” he said.

But when asked what his message was to JDRF’s legion of supporters across the UK and worldwide, he said with a smile: “You’re doing a really good job raising awareness. Keep up the good work.”

But Henry’s heroics for Exeter Chiefs, helping the team ride high in the Aviva Premiership, demonstrate that type 1 diabetes doesn’t need to hold anyone back in life.

See how you can take part in a sporty adventure with JDRF. 

Also see the Exeter Chiefs’ website. 


Make a splash for JDRF and tackle the Thames this summer

 JDRF is delighted to have teamed up with the Henley Swim organisers to bring you the Henley Mile this summer – a fun downstream swimming event for all of the family.

 Taking place on Sunday 12 July in Henley-on-Thames, the event gives adult and older children a chance to swim a mile of the iconic Thames – while also allowing children as young as eight to have a shorter splash in the river.

 Adele Claase, Head of Events at JDRF, said: “A child’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes has a big impact on the whole family. Those with the condition must take insulin every day to stay alive, and constantly monitor their blood glucose levels. This turns a typical family day out into a major challenge for parents.

 “We are delighted therefore that those enjoying a Henley Mile family day out this summer can support JDRF on its mission to find the cure for type 1 diabetes. Funds raised will help JDRF support vital medical research into the condition.”

 She added: “As a charity we fund research all over the globe. But with some of the world’s best type 1 diabetes research taking place here in the UK, it feels right to be fundraising with Henley Swim in the nation’s most internationally recognised river – the Thames.”

 Jeremy Laming, Henley Swim co-founder said: “We are excited to have JDRF on board as our nominated charity for The Henley Mile. The Mile is the most family-centric of all our events,  it will be great to see families and individuals enjoying an active day out on the Thames, whilst raising money for  much needed research into type 1 diabetes.”

 Adults can take part in two distance options, making it perfect for experienced open water swimmers or for those new to the sport.  There is also an option for parents and children to swim together, and three distances to choose from for junior swimmers.

 For more information, and to sign up to the event, go to