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

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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.


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.


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.'


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


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.


Announcing our new Director of Fundraising – Dean Benton

JDRF is pleased to announce that Dean Benton has officially joined the organisation this week as its new Director of Fundraising.

Dean comes to JDRF from the RAF Benevolent Fund, where he has been Director of Marketing and Communications for eight years.  Before that, he worked as Director of External Affairs for Action for Children.  

With experience of corporate, appeal, direct marketing and legacy income generation – Dean started his fundraising career in community and regional fundraising.

Dean said: "I am absolutely thrilled by my appointment and excited by the prospect of playing my part in helping to find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

“I join a vibrant organisation wholly committed to its charitable endeavour. Its spirit and single minded determination will one day make the world a better place for those currently affected by the condition.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “We are really looking forward to working with Dean and benefitting from his wealth of experience and knowledge.”

“He joins us at a time of very exciting growth and development. On behalf of everyone that lives with type 1 diabetes – I thank him for joining the team and supporting our mission to cure the condition.”

Dean will be replacing Caroline Hellicar, who is moving onto Asthma UK after nearly eight years at JDRF.

You can meet the rest of the JDRF team here.


Ladies' evening raises £2,000 for JDRF

JDRF supporter Eloise Stiles, from Rawtenstall in Lancashire, along with the Ladies of Rossendale, has raised £2,000 for JDRF.

Eloise organised an evening, called Show Your Love, which took place on 27 June 2014. The ladies decorated their local sports club into a venue for music and dancing, and guests enjoyed a night of live entertainment from local upcoming soloists, and ended the evening dancing to a live band.

Eloise was inspired to organise the event by her daughter, Erin, seven, who was diagnosed with type 1 on New Year’s Eve 2013.

Eloise said: "I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who came and enjoyed the evening, but also to the local businesses that donated prizes, and my closest friends that helped to bring it all together. This is our first year of running Show Your Love and we raised over £2,000 whilst creating a greater awareness of this life long condition."

Since Erin's diagnosis, Eloise has set her heart on raising as much money as possible to support JDRF and she is planning to make Show Your Love an annual event.


Regulator issues alert over Accu-Chek meters

Accu-Chek Mobile by Pearlsa, via flickrThe UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has issued an alert about some Accu-Chek blood glucose meters, stating that they may give a false low blood glucose reading when the person using them is taking an antibiotic called ceftriaxone.

The devices affected by the alert are the Accu-Chek Compact, the Accu-Chek Active and the Accu-Chek Mobile meters, along with their respective test strips. Other devices in the Accu-Chek range are unaffected, and can be used as normal if you are taking the antibiotic.

If you are using one of these meters, and are taking ceftriaxone, you should speak to your healthcare provider, who should offer you an alternative device while you are receiving treatment.

More information about the alert is available on the MHRA website.

Image courtesy of Pearlsa, via flickr.


Special baby formula does not affect type 1

JDRF-funded researchers in Finland have found no evidence that using a hypoallergenic baby formula can affect the early stages of type 1.

This contrasts with their findings from a previous pilot study, which suggested that a special type of formula could reduce the chance of genetically at-risk babies developing early indicators of the condition.

In the new trial the infants, who all had a first-degree relative with type 1, were allowed to breastfeed for as long as their mothers wanted to, then given either a special hydrolysed baby formula, or a standard cows’ milk formula containing 20% of the hydrolysed formula, for at least 60 days.

Then, over the next seven years, the researchers took regular blood samples from the children and analysed them for islet autoantibodies. These are proteins that show the immune system is primed to attack the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, and are good indicators of a person’s risk of later developing type 1.

The researchers, led by Professor Mikael Knip of the University of Helsinki, found that the number of children who developed these autoantibodies was roughly the same whether they were given the hydrolysed milk or the cows’ milk formula. The risks remained similar even once the results were adjusted for the length of time the children were fed the formula, and for other genetic and environmental risk factors.

This suggests that, in terms of autoantibody risk, there is no benefit to using hydrolysed milk. However the study will continue for another three years to assess whether this finding translates to  type 1 risk, as not everyone who develops autoantibodies will go on to develop the condition.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: ‘The results presented by Professor Knip are interesting and we look forward to seeing the results of continued exploration. Understanding the development of type 1 diabetes is a vital part of our work to cure, treat and prevent the condition.’

The researchers presented their results at the American Diabetes Association conference in San Francisco, and in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


HR award evening raises a wonderful £6,000 to support type 1 diabetes medical research

Guests at the annual cHeRries Awards, which recognises and rewards excellence in HR, Training and Recruitment in the North East of Scotland, helped raise the funds to support JDRF Scotland.

Karen Reid, Director of the event’s organisers, Aberdeen HR, Training & Recruitment consultancy Urquhart Partnership (UP), was motivated to raise the impressive sum at the awards after a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six.

Karen heard about JDRF from friend and former UP employee Lucy Williams from Westhill, whose daughter Caitlin has type 1 diabetes.

Karen said: “I learned from Lucy about the affect a type 1 diabetes diagnosis can have on a whole family. Those with the condition must take insulin every day via multiple injections or a pump. It is a demanding condition to live with."

 “JDRF is a wonderful charity which has a mission to better treat, prevent and one day cure type 1 diabetes, by supporting the best worldwide medical research into the condition. That’s why we were so delighted to raise such a lovely amount of money from the cHeRries Awards.”

Catriona Morrice of JDRF said: “We would like to express our warm thanks to The cHeRries Awards for this generous donation.”


Inhaled insulin approved for use in the USA

Afrezza, the inhalable insulin produced by the company MannKind, has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that American adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can now use Afrezza as their mealtime bolus insulin. However, it has not yet been approved for use in the UK or Europe.

The announcement follows research by MannKind that found that 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.

This was the third time that the drug has been examined by the FDA – the organisation originally rejected Afrezza in both 2010 and 2011, asking for more evidence of its efficacy and safety. The approval, too, comes with a requirement for MannKind to study the efficacy and safety of the drug in children, as well as the long-term effects of the drug on lung function. The FDA also announced that Afrezza should not be used by smokers or people with chronic lung diseases (such as asthma).

Afrezza is taken using a thumb-sized inhaler at the start of the meal, and travels through the lungs into the bloodstream. 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 makes it more similar to insulin produced naturally by the pancreas in people without type 1.

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, and soon afterwards, Novo Nordisk and Lilly both halted their studies into inhaled insulin.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, 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.’


Government reveals increase in type 1 diabetes research funding after launch of #CountMeIn campaign

Following the launch of JDRF’s #CountMeIn campaign back in March, revised Government funding figures have revealed that money spent on type 1 diabetes research has increased.     

The latest figures were revealed in a recent parliamentary debate entitled ‘Type 1 diabetes and young people’ which was secured by George Howarth MP after he attended the launch of #CountMeIn.

These figures have since been confirmed in writing from Science Minister David Willetts. The Minister said: "The figures are different to those previously quoted. This is due to an error in the figures released by the Medical Research Council prior to 2013".

He added: "The figure for 2010/11 has also been adjusted because of a change in reporting methodology."

These revised figures now show a slight overall upward trend in UK Government spending on type 1 diabetes research. Further details can be seen in the table below:

JDRF is campaigning for Westminster to further increase funding of type 1 diabetes research, and at least match the per capita spending of the USA, Canada and Australia.

On a per capita basis, Australia spends 19p on type 1 diabetes research; the USA 29p; and Canada 34p. Despite the upward revision to UK figures, we are still only spending 10p per capita on vital research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: “It is promising to see that Government funding of type 1 diabetes has increased. But UK funding is still far behind other developed nations. Unless action is taken, our position as Europe’s leading nation for research into the condition is at risk.”

Type 1 Parliament was a huge success, and JDRF has since been able to use the momentum it generated to begin discussions with other major research funders – about creating a completely new collaborative research initiative that would significantly increase the amount of money going into type 1 diabetes research. This will not happen overnight. It will take some time to develop the detailed plans that go into establishing a novel major research partnership.

But we still need pressure to make it happen. JDRF launched its #CountMeIn petition this month to continue putting pressure on the Government to increase funding. The petition has gained more than 11,000 signatures already. 


JDRF Kilimanjaro climbers complete monumental mountain challenge

A JDRF team of trekkers has triumphed in its bid to be the largest ever group living with type 1 diabetes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The group set off last week to climb Africa’s tallest mountain, before scaling the summit over the weekend to enjoy stunning views – and the taste of glory.

The heroic team of trekkers climbed the beautiful Marangu trail, through muddy rainforest, along rocky paths and over valleys, past glaciers and ice cliffs. Participants living with type 1 diabetes faced the challenge of managing their condition as temperatures, altitude and their energy levels constantly changed.

Having climbed to an altitude of over 5,800m, the team has now completed its descent down the mountain. They can now relax, rebalance and rest their aching limbs before heading back to the UK.

Donor Development Officer at JDRF Kris Wood took part in the challenge. He said: “This was an incredible experience – one that I and the rest of the group will never forget. There were certainly challenges along the way, but working in such a close-knit team meant we could pull through it together.”

Kris, who lives with type 1 diabetes, added: “Before we set off, I was daunted by what lay ahead. But we’ve proven that you can write your own stories in life and if you put your mind to it, any challenge is possible.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “This remarkable adventure will go down in JDRF history. It highlights that living with type 1 diabetes does not have to stop you from achieving great things.

“My thanks to everyone who embarked on this challenge, and for supporting our mission to cure type 1 diabetes.”

2015's JDRF Kilimanjaro challenge will take place from 18-28 June. If you are inspired to take part, please register your interest here.


#BloodSugarSelfie: announcing the total raised thanks to your wonderful donations

Diabetes Week 2014 has now drawn to a close – and we can announce the total sum raised through our highly popular #BloodSugarSelfie social media campaign.

JDRF supporters grabbed their blood glucose meters, shared their selfies, and donated a fantastic £833.50. With Bayer Diabetes Care having pledged to match the amount, JDRF will in total receive a highly impressive £1,667 from the brief seven day campaign.

The figure was raised through more than 130 individual donations. Participants ranged from adults to small children living with type 1 diabetes – and the selfies made for a wonderful week of friendly faces dominating JDRF’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to all those who shared their #BloodSugarSelfie along with a donation. We extend our warm thanks to Bayer Diabetes Care too for enthusiastically agreeing to match the figure raised.”

She added: “The sum raised will support our vital research to better treat, prevent and one day cure type 1 diabetes.”

Ros Barker, Strategic Marketing Manager at Bayer Diabetes Care, said: “The #BloodSugarSelfie social media campaign has been a great success for JDRF and Bayer is delighted to have been able to support the initiative. The campaign used innovative and engaging ways to send an important message about accurate diabetes management – an approach that we fully support at Bayer.”

If you missed out on #BloodSugarSelfie, you can still donate to JDRF here.


Latest artificial pancreas projects show promise for the future of type 1 diabetes treatment

Two artificial pancreas projects have broken in the news this week, having shown significant promise for the future of worldwide type 1 diabetes treatment.

The first study – an artificial pancreas project co-ordinated by the University of Cambridge and funded by Diabetes UK – has shown for the first time in adults that the technology can be used at home and unsupervised.

Participants in the trial saw overall improved blood glucose control over the course of four weeks, with no increase in the amount of time spent in hypoglycaemia. The study follows recent JDRF-funded research that revealed the technology can be used safely by adolescents at home without supervision.

JDRF is the world’s leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research – and the artificial pancreas is a worldwide project. We have research teams based all over the world, collaborating with other teams to draw in different expertise.

Dr Roman Hovorka, lead author of the study at the University of Cambridge, told the Daily Mail: “The advantage of a system like this one is the ability to fine tune insulin delivery to account for variations in overnight insulin needs.

“The system was able to safely cope with these variations to achieve more consistent glucose control. Its benefits apply to a wide range of individuals.”

This news comes at the same time as separate artificial pancreas research is published in the United States. Referred to as a ‘bionic pancreas’, the five day study co-ordinated by Boston University was carried out 24 hours a day in both adults and adolescents. The smart phone-linked device can dispense both insulin and glucagon to participants.

Whereas insulin works to reduce the level of glucose in the blood, glucagon increases it.

The senior author of the study, Professor Edward Damiano, has a 15 year old son with type 1 diabetes. He told the New York Times that he was determined to get the new device working and approved in time for his son to go off to college carrying one. 

JDRF funded previous research with Dr. Damiano that helped lay the foundation for his current study and these results.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: “We congratulate Dr Hovorka, our friends at Diabetes UK and the team at Boston University on the promising results of these trials.  Continued collaboration is vital to make this technology a reality.

“Type 1 diabetes is a challenging condition. I look forward to the day the artificial pancreas can finally be placed in the hands of patients – changing the lives of the 400,000 people that live with the condition in the UK.”

You can learn about global projects that JDRF funds here.

Photo credit: Boston University Department of Biomedical Engineering


Couple climbing Kilimanjaro talk of their love for each other and for JDRF

In less than one week, our Kilimanjaro adventurers will be climbing the heights of Africa’s tallest mountain for JDRF.

Sales Manager Claire Williams will be participating in the climb with her partner Matt. Happily married for six years, they talk to JDRF about the physical and mental challenge ahead of them and how they will support each other through thick and thin.

Claire, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for nearly 40 years said: “Initially intrigued, daunted and excited in equal measure – I decided it was time to take on a challenge that shows how type 1 diabetes does not need to define what your possibilities are in life. It’s also great to do something for a cause so close to my heart.”

Matt ­– a music graduate turned City banker – signed up after only recently attending a training weekend in Snowdonia. He said: “Claire and I have gone from relative couch potatoes to doing some serious 17 mile walks. We’ve ticked off Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Slieve Donard. And we look forward to climbing Ben Nevis this year.  It’s been slow and steady – but it’s great to see the progress we’ve made over the course of a few months.  Both of us have discovered muscles we never knew we had!”

He added: “Four years ago we went on a safari in Tanzania and flew past Kilimanjaro. I looked down and thought who could possibly be daft enough to want to climb such an imposing mountain? And here we are now – daft enough to want to do it and to prove that we write our own stories in life.”

Speaking fondly of the challenge ahead, Claire said: “For anyone aspiring to do something similar – go for it! With the right preparation, the rewards of taking on a challenge should not be under-estimated. Doing something like this as a couple can strengthen your relationship and being in the same situation together builds trust. Knowing that we have got each other for support is going to really help us up the hill!”

Matt said: “Climbing Kilimanjaro will test us to the maximum. The great thing about doing this as a couple and a wider group is that we are all in it together.”

He added: “The last month has been pint-free, so we very much look forward to a drink when it’s all over!  I also promise to remove my Brian Blessed-inspired beard upon my return if we reach our fundraising target!”

 To make a donation and support research into curing type 1 diabetes, please visit Matt and Claire’s Just Giving page.

If you are inspired to take part in the 2015 JDRF Kilimanjaro challenge, please register your interest here.



#BloodSugarSelfie is back for Diabetes Week! This time, get your donation doubled for JDRF

Social media phenomenon #BloodSugarSelfie is back for Diabetes Week 2014 – and this time it is twice as big – as Bayer Diabetes Care UK will sponsor the event and match donations made to JDRF.

#BloodSugarSelfie emerged as an online trend among the online diabetes community, drawing inspiration from the viral #NoMakeupSelfie campaign for cancer research. Now, during Diabetes Week (Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 June), JDRF and Bayer Diabetes Care are urging supporters to get testing, get snapping, get tweeting and get donating!

The campaign will raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and support JDRF’s vital research into better treating, preventing and curing the condition. It will see people living with type 1 diabetes post photos on social media of themselves alongside a reading from their blood glucose monitor, accompanying this with a text donation to JDRF. Bayer has pledged to match all donations during Diabetes Week, up to a limit of £4,000.

Last time, JDRF received 850 donations totalling just over £4,000. With the help of Bayer Diabetes Care’s sponsorship, JDRF hopes to double this amount.

The 400,000 people in the UK who live with type 1 diabetes - including nearly 30,000 children - rely on multiple insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive. A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18. The condition is not linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “The #BloodSugarSelfie campaign highlights that living with type 1 diabetes can be a very big challenge. Every day individuals living with the condition have to keep their blood glucose levels within a given range and this requires constant management.”

She added: “We are so grateful to Bayer for their generous match sponsorship. We also salute for its role in creating this superb campaign earlier in 2014. Together, we are supporting vital research to better treat, prevent and one day cure type 1 diabetes.”

Ros Barker, Strategic Marketing Manager at Bayer Diabetes Care, said: “The #BloodSugarSelfie campaign is a fun and innovative way to address the very serious topic of appropriate and accurate blood glucose measurement, which is key to successful diabetes monitoring and so we are delighted to support this initiative.”

To join the #BloodSugarSelfie movement, post a photo of you and your blood glucose reading to Twitter or Facebook with the #BloodSugarSelfie hashtag. Donations to JDRF can be made by texting ‘JDRF11 £5’ to 70070. The £5 can be changed to an amount of your choice.

Read the full press release here.