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


A view from Vienna, day 1: Discussing infant diet and risk of type 1 diabetes

This week, Conor McKeever (our Research Communication Officer) is reporting from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference in Vienna. Each day he'll be reporting on the things he's found interesting and exciting from Europe's biggest meeting of diabetes researchers.

On Monday, JDRF held a discussion that drew in experts from around the world. Entitled ‘The Role of Infant Diet in Susceptibility/Resistance to Type 1 Diabetes’, it looked for answers to a big question in type 1 diabetes research – can we run a study to explore the influence that a child’s diet has on their risk of developing the condition?

We already fund a number of studies in this area, the largest of which is TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young), which is following over 8,000 children over several years to see if there is an identifiable ‘trigger’ that could prompt them to develop type 1. However, because these studies take a number of years to complete, it is important for us to hear from experts in the field before embarking on a new project.

Professor Mikael Knip, whose research we reported on in July, is enthusiastic that a large scale prevention project is possible. He is looking at the role of baby formula in type 1, and has so far found that using a special kind of baby formula does not affect the development of the early indicators of type 1.

His opinion is shared by Professor Annette Ziegler, who is involved in the BABYDIET study. She has found that introducing gluten into a child’s diet at either 6 months or 12 months makes no difference to early indicators of type 1. However, Professor Ziegler pointed out that it is very difficult to make sure that people in a study follow the trial diet, or accurately report their diets, over many years – a difficulty that would need to be overcome in any future studies.

Despite these reservations, many of the researchers had found clinical studies such as TEDDY helpful in their work. Some had used its data to look at the role of gluten and coeliac disease, while others looked at probiotic use – without TEDDY, both of these investigations might have required separate, expensive trials that would not have recruited as many people.

There was also a lot of discussion about an up-and-coming area in type 1 research – the role of the ‘microbiome’, or the bacteria that live inside us. Professor Dusko Ehrlich of King’s College London pointed out that the total number of genes from these bacteria is 150 times bigger than the human genome, so we can’t afford to discount them, and early indications are that the bacteria in our gut can influence the development of type 1.

Given these opinions, it looks as though research into infant diet is going to continue to play a role in type 1 research – and that the microbiome is likely to become an increasingly important part of this work.

Photo: Vienna at sunset by Flickr user cadoc.


Insulin pumps featured on Radio 4 – but how can you demand access if you want one?

The lack of access to insulin pumps for UK people living with type 1 diabetes was thrust into the spotlight this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Presenter Justin Webb, a leading UK media voice, recognised that NHS treatment for people with type 1 diabetes is much better than it used to be. But he also highlighted that in comparison to some other nations, the UK still lags on providing access to type 1 diabetes treatment technology.

Justin, whose 14 year old son Sam lives with type 1 diabetes, said: “We can learn a thing or two about how to treat type 1 from the Americans. According to JDRF – 40 per cent of Americans with type 1 diabetes have a pump. Here it’s seven per cent overall – six per cent of adults and 19 per cent of children.”

Schoolboy Sam, who is an insulin pump user, was interviewed by his father for the programme. He said: “The pump is so good.” When asked by Justin about being one of the mere seven per cent of UK people with type 1 diabetes who have a pump to use, he jokingly said: “I feel very special.”

Dr Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes for NHS England, said on the programme: “The barrier (to greater insulin pump access) is not the money. The barrier is more the fact that we don’t have sufficient staff with the skills to support people on pumps, to start people on pumps, and to give them the package of education they need to be safe on pumps.”

On a final note, Justin said: “The NHS is grappling with diabetes and other chronic conditions and winning some battles – but it’s not easy. My NHS, our NHS, is in a very tough fight to win the battles and convince us – the patients – that it can carry on winning those battles in the future.”

Are you currently managing your condition with multiple daily injections, but considering moving onto an insulin pump? See JDRF’s guide to insulin pumps, including how to get one, here.


Pro cycling team with type 1 diabetes saddle up for UK race – and invite others to come meet them

This weekend Team Novo Nordisk – a global professional cycling team – will be competing on British roads for the first time ever. All members of the team live with type 1 diabetes and are inviting the public to come and support them.

Racing in the Tour of Britain, the team manage their condition while training and competing in one of the world’s toughest endurance sports. Their aim is to inspire, educate and empower others that also live with type 1 diabetes.

Racing through nine stages across the country, Team Novo Nordisk will set off from Liverpool this Sunday and will finish in London on 14 September. Details of the race stages can be found here.

Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk said: “When diagnosed with diabetes, many people think it means they won’t be able to live life the way they’d hoped. Team Novo Nordisk is racing to inspire people with diabetes to set and achieve their goals, whatever they may be, and show that the first step towards this is good diabetes control.”

Elizabeth Isle, Challenge Events Fundraiser at JDRF, said: “Team Novo Nordisk is an example of how having type 1 diabetes does not have to stop you achieving great things. Only recently did an elite cyclist with the condition win the RideLondon cycle event for JDRF.”

Team Novo Nordisk will be available for photos and autographs on the first and final day of the race. They will be available from 1 to 2pm at The Strand, Liverpool, L3 1HU on 7 September or from 9 to 10am at Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ER on 14 September. To find the Team Novo Nordisk bus look for signs that say TEAM or ask where the team parking is.

JDRF’s cycle challenges are a great way to raise awareness and funds to support type 1 diabetes research. See our website for the plenty of events that you can get involved with.


Promising new drug for diabetic retinopathy hits clinical trials

A completely new treatment for diabetic retinopathy has started being tested in people for the first time. The first-in-man trials of experimental drug KVD001 began this month, focussing on assessing the safety and tolerability of the drug in treating diabetic macular oedema (a particular type of retinopathy).

The trials are being conducted at the world renowned Beetham Eye Institute (part of the Joslin Diabetes Centre at Harvard Medical School in Boston) and recruitment will gradually roll out through five centres in the US.

The company behind the drug, KalVista, is a small biotechnology company based near Southampton. JDRF has been working with KalVista on the drug for a number of years, and indeed JDRF supported the academic research that identified the biological pathway the drug is designed to target.

The only drug currently licensed specifically for treating diabetic macular oedema, is ranizumab (brand name Lucentis). This drug is designed to target a molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor and so prevent the disordered growth of blood vessels that contributes to vision loss. While treatment with Lucentis has been able to help many people with diabetic macular oedema, it doesn’t work for everyone. KVD001 is a type of molecule called a plasma kallikrein inhibitor, and targets a different biological pathway to Lucentis – so KalVista’s new drug may be able to help those for whom Lucentis does not work.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF in the UK said: ‘As complications of living with type 1 go, vision loss is one of the most feared. JDRF’s research strategy prioritises work to understand diabetic retinopathy and devise new ways to treat and prevent it for exactly this reason. So we’re excited to see KVD001, a drug that we have helped Kalvista to develop, make it to the first phase of clinical testing. There is of course still a long way to go, but if this treatment works it will provide a new option for people who develop diabetic macular oedema.'

Read more about JDRF’s work to help treat type 1 diabetes and its complications and find out how you can help to support research projects like this.


The Netherlands triumphs at international football tournament for children using insulin pumps

Last weekend, UK children living with type 1 diabetes and using insulin pumps descended on Holland for the annual Medtronic Junior Cup Diabetes tournament.

Hundreds of spectators watched the final – won by the Netherlands against Belgium. But for many of the 10 to 14 year old participants, the real triumph was getting to meet other pump users, and proving that having type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to stop you doing anything.

Children who manage their condition with insulin pumps were invited to apply for the tournament, which took place in Arnhem.

Diabetes blogger Laura Cleverley, who was present, said: “Looking at the players you wouldn't have a clue that they had diabetes and honestly, 99 per cent of the time I forgot that they did!”

She added: “The best part was seeing them getting on with things and not letting their diabetes stop them. It really was hugely satisfying to see how little their diabetes bothered them.”

Medtronic Junior Cup Diabetes is part of an effort to promote sport among children with type 1 diabetes. The tournament has been organised by Medtronic since 2007.

Elie Kelpie, Senior Corporate Development Fundraiser at JDRF, said: “Year in and out, the Medtronic Junior Cup proves to be a fantastic event.  It is inspiring to see so many young people living with the condition sharing this memorable experience.”

Medtronic and JDRF have a long history of partnership and collaboration – helping to support vital medical research into type 1 diabetes. You can find out more about becoming a JDRF corporate partner here.


Back to school bonus ­– JDRF applauds introduction of new law for children with type 1 diabetes

Come the new academic term in September, it will be a legal duty for schools in England to support children with long term health conditions – including type 1 diabetes.

Led by Diabetes UK, the Government has responded to pressure to amend its Children and Families Bill. Schools must now have a medical conditions policy in place, along with an individual healthcare plan that is tailored to meet the needs of every child living with type 1 diabetes.

Schools must also work with parents and diabetes specialist nurses to make sure children get the individual support they need – and ensure that all relevant staff are trained on the needs of those with the condition.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “I’ve heard stories from parents that many schools do a fantastic job supporting children with type 1 diabetes. But I have also heard unfortunate stories of those that do not get the support they deserve. This new law will ensure pupils that live with the condition can no longer be discriminated against.”

She added: “Congratulations to Diabetes UK, and our supporters, for campaigning tirelessly to make this happen.”

 JDRF offers a range of resources to schools on how to support pupils with type 1 diabetes in the classroom. These include our  ‘Talking T1’ primary school packs and secondary school packs.


Behind the headlines: “Diabetes could be cured as scientists find cause of disease”

Today the Telegraph, and other news outlets, covered a story about research from the universities of Manchester, UK and Auckland, New Zealand discussing the role amylin may play in beta cell death.

What is the story all about?

The news story focuses on new research surrounding the hormone amylin published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology. Amylin is another hormone produced by pancreatic beta cells alongside insulin. But because beta cells produce approximately 100 times as much insulin as they produce amylin, this hormone was only discovered in 1986 (we’ve known about insulin since 1921). Amylin’s role in the body is associated with gastric emptying and satiety (feeling full after eating), but it has also been shown that amylin can build up in large deposits in the pancreases of people with type 2 diabetes, and these deposits are thought to trigger the death of beta cells. This story focuses on the role of amylin in beta cell death.

What did the scientists do in their study?

To investigate what happened when too much amylin built up in the pancreas, the scientists worked with mice that were genetically modified to have pancreatic beta cells that over-produce amylin. They had two groups of mice that overproduced amylin at different rates: ‘homozygotes’ that expressed very high levels of amylin, and ‘hemizygotes’ that produced about half as much amylin, but still far more than would usually be made by a beta cell.

They then did a number of tests to monitor what happened to the mice. The homozygotes quickly developed diabetes and the scientists could see that the beta cells quickly disappeared. The scientists likened the rapid progression to diabetes as being similar to type 1 diabetes. The hemizygotes, progressed to diabetes much more slowly, so the research team likened this to type 2 diabetes.

The team examined how the amylin produced by the cells behaved in the pancreas to find out which aspects of amylin overproduction might be involved in driving beta cell death. They found that there was a marked difference in the way the cells responded to extreme overproduction as compared to overproduction, but in both cases, amylin overproduction led to diabetes and beta cell loss. This shows that the build up of large deposits of amylin as previously observed in type 2 diabetes, is not the only mechanism by which amylin can influence beta cell death.

What does this mean for people with type 1 diabetes?

Although the headline of the Telegraph claims the cause of diabetes has been found, this claim is not made by the authors themselves. They suggest that it is possible that amylin overproduction might have a role in a subset of cases of type 1 diabetes, and that this would be an interesting avenue for further investigation.

This study is primarily interesting to people involved in type 1 research because it indicates that amylin may have a role in driving beta cell death – but this is still likely to be a result of disrupted beta cell function. So it may be that by targeting the pathways through which amylin drives beta cell death we could develop treatments that protect beta cells from destruction. But there is still a great deal of work to be done in understanding the role of amylin in beta cell death in type 1 diabetes before it is likely to lead to new ways of treating type 1 diabetes in the clinic.

Is any other research on amylin taking place?

Yes. When type 1 diabetes develops, beta cells are destroyed, so as well as losing the ability to produce insulin, people with type 1 also lose the ability to produce amylin. As part of our research treatment research strategy, JDRF has supported work to understand if giving people with type 1 a synthetic form of amylin, called pramlintide, alongside their insulin, might help in achieving good glucose control. These studies are ongoing and we await the results with interest. 


Bubbling with excitement – new encapsulation trial for type 1 diabetes is step towards life without injections

This week saw a big milestone in type 1 diabetes research: approval was given for the first human trials of a ‘macroencapsulation device’ filled with stem cells programmed to become insulin-producing cells.

JDRF has been working with US company ViaCyte for a number of years to support the development of a product that could transform the lives of people with type 1, by providing a way for them to produce insulin ‘on demand’ without pumps or sensors.

The product is designed to work by giving people a stock of immature cells that are programmed to develop into insulin-producing cells. These are contained within a physical device that can be implanted into the body and acts as a protective bubble to keep the new cells safe from immune attack.

The announcement means that Viacyte can start testing the device in people with type 1 for the first time – so far the system has only been tested in animals. The first trials will primarily focus on making sure that the device is safe and causes no ill effects, but will also measure how well the cells are able to produce insulin.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK said: ‘I’m really excited to see this innovative product moving into clinical trials for the first time. JDRF has made supporting encapsulation research a priority because we believe this approach could free people with type 1 from the physical and mental burdens of testing, carb counting and injecting or pumping insulin that are currently the norm.

'We look forward to seeing results from this trial, and progress in other encapsulation projects around the world.’

Read more about encapsulation research, and find out how you could support innovative research projects like this.


JDRF supporters' variety of activities raises over £9K

In recent months two supporters from Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway – Noreen Boyes and Kerry Grierson – have collected over £9K for JDRF.

Noreen’s son, Isaac, and Kerry’s daughter, Chloe, both have type 1. Noreen got in touch with JDRF as she had decided to run the Edinburgh Marathon to raise money. Noreen and Kerry then came together and decided to raise as much as they could for JDRF.

They involved as many of their friends and family as possible in their fundraising, so while Noreen got training for her marathon, Kerry roped in a friend to do a sponsored slim with her. Noreen’s niece did a guess the sex and weight of her baby contest. Their friend Joe decided to go for two months without drinking a drop of alcohol. Kerry’s sister-in-law’s dad, Chris, decided to do a chest wax. Kerry and Noreen then organised a coffee morning and a bingo night which combined raised over £2,400.

In the end they raised an amazing £9263.11 in total. A big thank you to them and to everyone who fundraised with them and supported them at their fantastic events.


JDRF Chief Executive calls for greater awareness of type 1 diabetes after young mother dies due to missed diagnosis

An inquest reported in the Daily Mail this week has allegedly shown that a young mother passed away after living with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.

26 year old Nicky Rigby, a mother-of-one, was suffering from classic symptoms associated with development of the condition. It is reported that she died from diabetic ketoacidosis – which occurs when people who have developed the condition do not get the life-depending insulin that they need.

The warning signs of type 1 diabetes can include extreme thirst, frequent urination, tiredness and weight loss.

Not wanting others to ignore the symptoms, Nicky’s fiancé Mark said to the paper: “Please don’t battle on through exhaustion like my brave Nicky tried to do.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: “I am saddened and angered by this tragic story. My heart goes out to Nicky's surviving husband and daughter. Type 1 diabetes is on the rise – so it is important that GPs and the wider public are aware of its symptoms so that treatment isn't delayed.”


Heroic JDRF cyclist completes RideLondon with just one pedal

Determined JDRF cyclist, Louis Dunderdale, was making good time at the RideLondon cycle challenge this week – until an unfortunate mishap occurred.  

All was going well until 53 miles in, when a mechanical failure of the 19 year old's bike caused its left pedal to fall off. Louis walked to a nearby bike shop to seek help, but unfortunately they were unable to offer their assistance.   

Adamant that he couldn't let this hold him back, he had no choice but to carry on. Louis cycled the remaining distance pedalling with only his right leg – not before calling his parents to tell them that he would be later than expected to the finishing line.

Louis supports JDRF on behalf of his girlfriend’s younger sister, who lives with type 1 diabetes. His father Gordon said: “As soon as I realised the enormity of this task, both my wife and I were overcome with pride.  To see the sheer determination on his face as he crossed the finishing line brought a tear to our eyes.”

He added: “I think it is testament to his character that he wanted to complete the ride – determined to see it through to end both for JDRF and those that had sponsored him. I hope everyone will agree that this was some effort.”

Elizabeth Isle, Challenge Events Fundraiser for JDRF, said: “Louis’ admirable story highlights the sheer motivation and dedication of all JDRF challenge events participants. Thank you Louis for carrying on, and helping to support type 1 diabetes medical research.”

The ballot for next year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 opens on Monday 18 August 2014 – visit the official website to enter. You can also apply for a place on Team JDRF here.




Team of cyclists plan a ride from Durham to Poole

Two friends and a team from Siemens IT/GSS will be cycling 550 miles across England to raise money for JDRF. 

Ian Thompson and Ben Aymes have organised the ride to raise money for type 1 research and awareness of the condition after Ben’s daughter, Grace, aged nine, was diagnosed with type 1 in 2012.

The team of 21 riders will cycle 550 miles in six days from Durham to Poole, visiting Siemens sites on each day. The challenging ride will start on Sunday 7 September and they will be met by friends, family and JDRF staff when they reach Siemens in Poole on the following Friday.

The team are aiming to raise at least £5,000 for JDRF, having already received £1,455 in sponsorship so far.

Ian said: ‘When Ben’s daughter Grace was diagnosed with type 1 just after her 7th birthday, the impact was difficult to watch.  The way they have handled it as a family has been amazing and I know that JDRF have been a real help by providing information and hope that the cure for type 1 will be found.’

To find out more about the event and to sponsor the team of cyclists in their challenge, visit

If you’re keen to experience the world on two wheels while raising funds for type 1 research, take a look at


£550 million investment into inhaled insulin

A giant drugmaker has agreed to invest up to £550 million (US$925 million) for the rights to an inhaled insulin treatment.

French firm Sanofi confirmed today its deal for Afrezza, the inhalable insulin product which was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier in the summer.

Afrezza has not yet been approved for use in the UK or Europe. It is currently in human trials in this country.

But American adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can already use it as their mealtime bolus insulin – and Sanofi’s investment represents a vote of confidence in its global potential as an alternative treatment to injections.

The announcement follows research by developers MannKind that found using Afrezza as a mealtime bolus for six months can reduce HbA1c levels in people with type 1, although not by as much as Novo Nordisk’s NovoRapid. The FDA’s approval came with a requirement for MannKind to study the safety of the drug in children, as well as the long-term effects of the drug on lungs.

Afrezza is taken using a thumb-sized inhaler at the start of the meal. It is an ‘ultra-rapid’ insulin, as the peak insulin level in the blood occurs around 12-15 minutes after use, compared to 30-90 minutes for many injected ‘rapid’ insulins.

This speed of action led JDRF to fund a trial using Afrezza in 2010, as part of a programme developing faster insulins for the artificial pancreas. The participants used Afrezza at meals to fine tune their blood glucose levels, alongside the slower-acting insulin being given by the artificial pancreas. This meant that people had smaller blood glucose level peaks at mealtimes.

The field of inhaled insulin is challenging. In 2007, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer withdrew its drug, Exubera, after poor sales and suggestions of an increased risk of lung cancer.

Speaking in June, Chief Executive of JDRF Karen Addington said: 'The approval of Afrezza means that people living with type 1 diabetes have another option for the way they manage their condition. We will continue to monitor the drug’s progress through the European and UK regulatory and reimbursement systems.'

 Commenting on today’s news, she said: 'It is encouraging to see such a significant investment into inhaled insulin.'


JDRF competitor wins RideLondon cycle event

A JDRF supporter beat thousands of other cyclists to triumph in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 event on Sunday.

Ian Rees, who lives with type 1 diabetes and is 43 years old, entered the event as a member of JDRF’s elite team Dymag T1D which he founded.

In crossing the finishing line first after a sprint finish, he achieved glory for himself and also raised a huge amount of awareness for JDRF.

The Dymag T1D team members were part of 130 JDRF cyclists who braved downpour conditions to take part in the second Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100. 

Due to the unrelenting rain, safety-conscious race organisers altered the route so the infamous Box and Leith hills were not included. The event took participants on a route out of the capital, into Surrey and back into London for a grand finish on the Mall.

Ian was ecstatic to win. He said: “I couldn’t do it last year because I broke my leg, but I watched it with people from the charity and told them that I would be first across the line this year to raise their profile.

“Here I am a year on, and I did it. I can’t believe it. That was the hardest ride I’ve had since I was a pro in France in the 1990s.”

Fellow Dymag T1D member Paul Merryweather said: “I helped Ian set up the team two years ago so this was all about getting him home first and giving JDRF some profile. So it’s mission accomplished; it’s all quite inspirational.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “What a triumph. We salute Ian, his fellow riders on the Dymag T1D team, and all the 130 who competed for JDRF in this special event. Our warm thanks also go out to our supporters who cheered them on in wet conditions.” 

The ballot for next year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 opens on Monday 18 August 2014 – visit the official website to enter. You can also apply for a place on Team JDRF here.


Researchers develop microchip to diagnose type 1

JDRF-funded researchers have designed a cheap, microchip-based test that can diagnose type 1 diabetes more quickly than ever before.

The test detects the presence of islet autoantibodies in a drop of blood. These proteins indicate that the immune system is primed to attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas – and are present in type 1 but not type 2.

Because of this, the test could be used after a diagnosis of ‘diabetes’, to distinguish whether a person has type 1 or type 2, potentially saving them from being misdiagnosed and receiving the wrong treatment.

The portability and low cost of the chip mean it could also be used more widely than current tests, so healthcare providers would no longer have to choose between a slower lab-based test and assuming which type of diabetes their patient has, based on their age and lifestyle.

‘With the new test, not only do we anticipate being able to diagnose diabetes more efficiently and more broadly, we will also understand diabetes better,’ said Professor Brian Feldman of Stanford University, who led the research.

Because the chip tests for autoantibodies, which are present even before a person develops the symptoms of type 1, it could allow healthcare providers to monitor people at risk and give them treatment much sooner than is currently possible.

This could become even more important in future with the development of preventative treatments, as these would be most effective before a person loses their ability to produce insulin. Such treatments are a priority area of JDRF research, as part of our strategy to cure, treat and prevent type 1.

‘The auto-antibodies truly are a crystal ball,’ commented Feldman. ‘Even if you don’t have diabetes yet, if you have one autoantibody linked to diabetes in your blood, you are at significant risk; with multiple autoantibodies, it’s more than 90 per cent risk.

‘There is great potential to capture people before they develop the disease, and prevent diabetes or prevent its complications by starting therapy early,’ he added.

The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Image courtesy of Stanford University/Norbert von der Groeben


Aussie acclaim - JDRF is Charity of the Year in Australia

JDRF has been announced as Charity of the Year in Australia – thanks to its stunning success in boosting investment in type 1 diabetes from the Australian government.

The Australian Charity Awards recognised specifically the campaign by JDRF’s team in Australia to secure $35 million of funding for the country’s Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network (T1DCRN). This funding is the largest ever single commitment to the condition in Australia.

Back in 2012, JDRF Australia staged a ‘Kids in the House’ event at Parliament House in the capital city of Canberra. The country’s Coalition, then in opposition, confirmed its election commitment to support the T1DCRN with $35 million to be delivered over five years. The Coalition subsequently kept its promise after its election to power.

Commenting on scooping the award, JDRF Australia Chief Executive Mike Wilson said: “This is a proud moment for JDRF and a tribute to our staff, Board, partners, supporters and advocates, whose passion and dedication was essential to the securing of the T1DCRN funding.”

JDRF UK Chief Executive Karen Addington said: “Huge congratulations to our colleagues and supporters in Australia for winning this award. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them on our global mission to better treat, prevent and one day cure type 1 diabetes. Their victory will inspire our #CountMeIn campaign to secure greater type 1 diabetes research funding from the UK Government.”

JDRF and its supporters have received various prestigious accolades around the world. In late 2012, Forbes magazine assessed the financial efficiency of the 100 nonprofit organizations in the US with the most private donations – and rated JDRF as one of its top five “All-Star Charities.”

Learn more about the #CountMeIn campaign from JDRF in the UK. 


Classic cars display at Ford Headquarters raises funds for JDRF

A host of classic cars were exhibited at the ninth Ford Vehicle Enthusiast Day last week. Around 50 vehicles were on display ­– from a 2014 Mercedes to a 1905 Allday and Onions, offering passenger rides and collecting donations in support of JDRF.  This wonderful day marked the company’s 50th birthday at its Warley Headquarters. Ford Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Ovenden, was there to lead the celebrations.

Ford has a long history of global support of JDRF and the search for the cure for type 1 diabetes, which began when the Ford family started supporting our colleagues in the USA.  Back in 2011, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary in Britain through a type 1 diabetes awareness campaign – raising almost £60,000 for JDRF.

Elie Kelpie, Senior Corporate Development Fundraiser at JDRF, said: “A big thank you to everyone that came along to the event. It was a fantastic day out and we are incredibly grateful to those involved for their support.”

She added: “Ford has raised significant funds to support medical research into type 1 diabetes and helped boost awareness of the condition globally. I look forward to the continuation of our exciting partnership in the future.”

You can find out more about becoming a JDRF corporate partner here.


New JDRF Chief Executive in the United States

JDRF has a new Chief Executive in the United States.

Derek Rapp, who is from St Louis, Missouri, will take charge of JDRF in the U.S. – the country where the charity was originally founded by a small group of dedicated parents.

Derek has the ideal career history to lead JDRF as a research charity. He is formerly CEO of Divergence, the biotechnology firm, and has also held prominent positions at Monsanto. Derek has been involved with JDRF since his son, Turner, was diagnosed with the condition in 2004. He takes over his new post from Jeffrey Brewer.

Derek said: “It is an honour to assume the role. JDRF is a unique organisation with a powerful mission. I look forward to building on the strong foundation Jeffrey Brewer has created. I am excited to lead our incredibly talented team as we work together to deliver life changing treatments, and eventually a cure, to those living with type 1 diabetes today, on our way to preventing the disease for generations to come. In the end, I know that we will succeed because the passion, determination, and dedication of our donors and our army of volunteers across the world will accept nothing less.”

Since JDRF was founded in the suburbs of Philadelphia on May 21, 1970, it has enjoyed four and a half decades of phenomenal supporter-led growth. Supporters and staff have raised more than £1billion worldwide for type 1 diabetes research, as part of JDRF’s mission to better treat, prevent and one day cure the condition.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: “We welcome Derek into his new role as CEO in the country where the JDRF story began. I look forward to collaborating with him as we progress towards a world without type 1 diabetes.” 


New therapy for type 1 diabetes that would eradicate injections makes further progress

A new therapy for type 1 diabetes that would remove the need for injections or pumps – by allowing people to produce their own insulin again – has moved closer to human trials.

The regenerative medicine company ViaCyte has filed an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S Food and Drug Administration, seeking the right to progress towards clinical trials for its cell replacement therapy.

ViaCyte has manipulated stem cells – which are cells that can develop into any human cell type – to potentially develop into mature pancreatic cells once implanted into a patient with type 1 diabetes. If successful, these cells would then have the capability to produce insulin in a glucose-responsive manner, thus eliminating the need for injections or pumps.

The therapy would see the cells being ‘encapsulated’ before being placed in the body. This is where a protective barrier mechanism prevents misfiring immune cells targeting the pancreatic beta cells inside, whilst simultaneously allowing the release of insulin.

The treatment would be administered through a simple, outpatient surgical procedure.

ViaCyte hopes to test the product in patients living with type 1 diabetes within two years. Furthermore, ViaCyte has already developed the product further to also release glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the release of glucose in response to hypoglycaemia.

JDRF provided substantial funding to help ViaCyte’s project develop.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: ‘JDRF will be continuing to work in partnership with ViaCyte as the company makes further progress towards clinical trials. If successful, this therapy would be life changing for those with type 1 diabetes.’

  • JDRF is also funding a research project in the UK that uses the encapsulation approach. Read more here.

Sir Ian Botham's new foundation gives support to JDRF

Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has launched a new charity foundation - and JDRF is one of the lucky organisations to receive support.

Sir Ian, still known to his fans as ‘Beefy’ Botham, is considered one of England’s greatest ever sportsmen. Since his retirement from cricket, he dedicated much of his life to raising funds for important causes.

His daughter, Becky Botham-Armstrong, lives with type 1 diabetes and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for JDRF in June, along with a team of fellow JDRF supporters.

The new Beefy’s Charity Foundation, which was launched in west London on July 16, will provide support to JDRF and four other benefiting charities:

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

Brain Tumour Research and Support

Cardiac Risk in the Young

The Batten Disease Family Association

Adele Claase, Head of Events for JDRF, said: “JDRF is so fortunate to have the Botham family as friends. Becky’s trek up Kilimanjaro was nothing short of heroic. To have the support of her father’s foundation is a wonderful bonus. Beefy’s Charity Foundation will help us to support vital research into better treating, preventing and one day curing type 1 diabetes.”

JDRF's Climb Kilimanjaro trip will take place once again in 2015. Do you want to be a part of it?