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


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



Injection of millions: massive investment follows Dr Melton’s stunning stem cell research breakthrough for type 1 diabetes

You’d be forgiven for suspecting that things sometimes go a bit quiet after global headlines shout about a type 1 diabetes research breakthrough.

But JDRF’s Harvard hero Doug Melton, whose work turning stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells made worldwide news last October, has announced two massive new business collaborations designed to bring his research to fruition sooner.

The first, which has raised £30 million from several companies including Medtronic, will aim to develop beta cells that can be transplanted into the body.  In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys these insulin-producing beta cells, so a procedure that could give them back to people could mean an end to insulin injections and blood glucose testing. It’s why we, too, are funding Dr Melton as part of our encapsulation research.

The second collaboration, a partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, will see researchers study the beta cells to learn more about their biology, giving us new insights into how type 1 diabetes develops. The cells will also be tested against many of the drugs developed by AstraZeneca, to see if any could be used to cure or even prevent the condition.

Until now, beta cell research in both of these fields had been hindered by a lack of donated pancreases, and by the more lengthy process normally used to grow the cells in the lab. Work by Melton, and by other JDRF-funded researchers such as Timothy Kieffer, should therefore help speed up the process of turning lab-based discoveries into treatments for people with type 1 diabetes.

Dr Clare McVicker, Director of Research Advocacy at JDRF in the UK, said: ‘A £30m investment is a huge stamp of approval for Dr Melton’s research. Business only backs scientific developments when it sees true potential – and this could change type 1 diabetes treatment globally.’

Read more about Dr Melton here.


Hollywood hero and JDRF supporter Jeremy Irvine – who lives with type 1 diabetes – to star in upcoming gay rights epic from Independence Day director

Cambridgeshire-born Jeremy Irvine has finished filming a drama about New York’s 1969 Stonewall Riots – which helped established the modern gay rights movement.

The film, Stonewall, is directed by Roland Emmerich who is best known for blockbusters Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.

Jeremy has had type 1 diabetes since the age of six. He will play the lead role of Danny, a gay young man who is kicked out of his home and flees to New York. Finding solace in the Stonewall Inn, he meets a group of friends who inspire him to demonstrate against the homophobic hatred and violence that they experience.

Since rising to Hollywood fame with Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse, Jeremy decided to avoid taking roles in blockbusters and concentrate on ‘character acting’ – before recently returning to box-office roles with Woman in Black 2.

Away from the camera, Jeremy has campaigned with JDRF to raise awareness and understanding of type 1 diabetes. A passionate supporter of medical research, he has also personally taken part in JDRF-backed trials of the artificial pancreas.

Learn more about JDRF's programme of type 1 diabetes research


Love art? Leading international exhibition launch party to help find type 1 diabetes cure

Art Antiques London is one of the world's leading art and antiques fairs idyllically located in Kensington Gardens, London. JDRF is delighted to be hosting an exclusive preview of the fair on Wednesday 10 June 2015 at Art Antiques London Party in the Park – an annual highlight of the London social calendar. 

A marriage of quality and style, it will bring together 70 of the world's leading art and antique specialists offering a collection of the finest works of art from the traditional through to the modern and contemporary. In partnership with The Week magazine, all income from the event will go towards supporting JDRF’s mission to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

Patron of this year’s event is Emmy award winning actress Susan Hampshire, OBE, well known for her roles in Monarch of the Glen and The Forsyte Saga.

She said: “People with type 1 diabetes do a wonderful job of getting on with their lives. But its effects aren't always obvious. Until my nephew Oliver was diagnosed, I didn’t know much about the condition. The daily injections, the blood testing, the carbohydrate counting, the sleepless nights – these are just some of the many things that made me realise the extent to which it takes over. But the only people who really know how demanding this condition is are the ones that are affected by it every day.

“That’s why I’m supporting JDRF as patron of Art Antiques London Party in the Park. I’m delighted to be able to play my part.”

The event regularly attracts attendance by royalty, celebrities and leading industry figures. Some names that have attended in the past include Tracy Emin, Claudia Winkleman, the Countess of Wessex, Michael Portillo, Scissor Sisters, Gyles Brandreth, Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice, and Cressida Bonas.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: “Many thanks to the Art Antiques London organisers, the Haughtons, for giving JDRF this fantastic opportunity. We were privileged to be the beneficiary charity for the 2012 event where a fantastic amount was raised for JDRF. We hope this wonderful social occasion will bring in even more this year.”

She added: "We fund some of the best type 1 diabetes research all over the globe, much of which takes place right here in the UK - including London. So it seems fitting that this event for JDRF takes place in our capital."

Located in a purpose-built pavilion in Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall, tickets are available to both the Art Antiques London Party in the Park reception and the renowned dinner.  There will also be a fabulous auction with top luxury prizes on offer.

For more information, and to purchase a ticket, go to



Type 1 diabetes vaccine possible ‘within a generation’

A vaccine for type 1 diabetes could be developed ‘within a generation’, according to researchers leading four new UK-based studies.

The £4.4 million Diabetes UK research project, co-funded by JDRF (£1.1m) and with support from Tesco (over £3.3m), could produce the first working vaccines within the next 10 years. As well as helping to delay or even prevent type 1 in those at high risk, these vaccines would also be an important step towards a cure for the condition, working in harmony with other treatments to reduce damage to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

In the first of the new studies, Professor Mark Peakman at King’s College London will lead the UK’s first ever trial of a prototype vaccine in children and teenagers living with or at high risk of type 1. Alongside him, Professor Colin Dayan at Cardiff University will develop a UK-wide network to allow more immunotherapy trials to take place in UK hospitals – and to train the young doctors and researchers who will lead them.

In addition, Professor Desmond Johnston of Imperial College London will continue work to identify people newly diagnosed with type 1 so that more people with the condition can be offered the opportunity to take part in clinical trials.

Finally, Dr Tim Tree, also at King’s College London, will set up a UK-wide network of specialist laboratories to study the impact of immunotherapy trials, investigating how different treatments work and determining if it is possible to predict who will benefit most from each treatment.

Professor Dayan said, “This funding has already led to a bold new collaboration between UK diabetes scientists and will provide an immense boost for this field as we work towards new clinical trials and a step change in our ability to halt the loss of insulin in type 1 diabetes. Within a year or two we will see many more children and adults taking part in this research. Within four years we expect to see results from studies of more than six potential treatments and within ten years we hope to see the first vaccine therapies delivered to patients in the clinic.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Diabetes UK on this important research. A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger pricks by the time they are 18. Our major search for a vaccine takes place within a global push, by some of the world’s very best scientists, to consign this life-threatening condition to history.”

Dr Alasdair Rankin, Diabetes UK’s Director of Research, said: “This research is hugely exciting because it has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes, as well as leading us towards a longed-for cure.

“We know that none of this will be easy or happen overnight. The first vaccines will probably help people to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes rather than preventing it entirely. But even this would help to reduce the risk of serious complications. In the longer term, a fully effective vaccine would represent a huge medical breakthrough and could transform the lives of people with type 1.”

Rebecca Shelley, Corporate Affairs Director for Tesco, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all the Tesco customers and colleagues who raised money for Diabetes UK – it is their hard work that has helped make this happen.”

Since JDRF was established over 40 years ago we have funded more than £1 billion of research worldwide. Find out more about the projects we fund here 


Emma Watson raises awareness of type 1 diabetes by saluting mum with the condition

British actress Emma Watson is helping to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes by saluting her mother who lives with the condition.

At an International Women’s Day event yesterday, Emma – who is famous for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series – was asked who her role model was. She said her mum.

Speaking at the Facebook headquarters in London, Emma said: "She was a single mother and a type one diabetic, so to see her strength and resilience was really inspiring growing up."

This is the first time the 24 year old has publicly spoken out about her mother’s condition. Emma, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN, added: "She really encouraged me to be an individual” and also referred to her mum as an “obvious choice” for a role model.

Emma isn’t the only Hollywood star with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes. Jeremy Irvine – who rose to fame in blockbuster War Horse – was diagnosed with the condition aged six.

Jeremy said: "Without the research funded by JDRF I don't believe I would be able to have the career I'm enjoying now. Thanks to the huge developments being made in the treatment of type 1 diabetes no child should have to feel diabetes needs to stop them following their aspirations."


Behind the headlines: 'more children showing early signs of diabetes complications'

The media is reporting that 'more children are showing early signs of serious diabetes complications.'

These headlines – clearly alarming for parents of children with type 1 diabetes – stem from today’s release of the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit.

The report actually shows that long-term blood glucose control among UK children with type 1 diabetes is improving, not worsening, and this fact behind the headlines is heartening. The increase in children showing early indications of future potential complications is instead due to the fact that increasing number of children are developing the condition. Individual children with the condition are not increasingly at risk.

Of further reassurance to families affected by type 1 diabetes is the fact (stated by the report itself) that early signs of eye, kidney and foot complications in children can be reversed by good control of blood glucose levels.

Sarah Johnson, Director of Policy and Communications at type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, admitted aspects of the report were concerning. She said: 'Although we’re pleased to see an increase in the number of children achieving in-range blood glucose control, we are alarmed by the numbers showing signs of complications at such a young age. Improvements in treatment and early interventions to prevent these complications need to be prioritised urgently by the NHS, and healthcare professionals must be given the help and resource they need to help their young patients manage a serious, life-long condition.'

Some of the media headlines also focused on a detail of the report that stated 'one in four children over the age of 12 who have type 1 diabetes are classed as obese.'

She added: 'We also need to remember that obesity is not a cause of type 1 diabetes. Children with type 1 diabetes have similar rates of obesity as children in the general population – they don’t live in a bubble and are subject to all of the influences and issues that affect their friends and classmates.  Absolutely weight is a factor in helping achieve good blood glucose control, but nothing these children did, or did not do, caused their immune system to attack their pancreas.'


JDRF boss wins UK Charity Leader of the Year after spectacular 12 months of success for type 1 diabetes research

JDRF’s Chief Executive in the UK, Karen Addington, has been crowned Charity Leader of the Year 2015 for her inspirational and successful leadership of the type 1 diabetes charity.

Karen beat 800 other nominees from across the UK to the Charity Staff Foundation’s award, receiving it at a prestigious ceremony yesterday evening in central London.

She said: “I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of JDRF’s amazing supporters throughout the UK and the wider world. 2014 was a very special year for breakthroughs in the type 1 diabetes research that we fund.”

Karen added: “The most brilliant non-profit organisations always have much in common with the most successful businesses – and vice-versa. They combine head and heart; strict efficiency and focus, alongside real passion for meeting people’s needs. Families affected by type 1 diabetes need a cure. The day will come.”

Reacting to her award, Mark Flannagan, CEO of Beating Bowel Cancer, described Karen as “one of the sector’s outstanding achievers, fiercely focused on improving the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, who has transformed the charity and the sector.  She's a great team leader on top of it, someone to be emulated.”

Karen’s Charity Leader of the Year award comes after a spectacular 12 months for supporters of the charity both in the UK and internationally, in which:


Diabetes education – MP report highlights postcode lottery

MPs are pressing the Government and local health leaders to ensure that everyone with diabetes has access to high-quality diabetes education and support to help them manage their condition.

Taking control: Supporting people with diabetes to look after their condition, highlights that only 16 per cent of people newly diagnosed with diabetes are offered access to a formal course covering how to effectively manage their condition. And only three per cent of people newly diagnosed with diabetes actually attended one. Released today, the report comes from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes – the secretariat of which is held by JDRF and Diabetes UK.

People with diabetes have to self-manage their condition 99 per cent of the time. And giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively, through a formal education course, can lead to improvements in their blood glucose control and therefore reduce long term risk of complications. The NHS spends £10 billion annually on diabetes, 80 per cent of which is spent on treating complications that could often be prevented if the person got the right care in the first place.

The report highlights two key obstacles to people accessing education and support. The first is that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the bodies responsible for health in local areas, simply are not commissioning formal education courses in their areas, which means patients do not have the chance to attend a course.

The second problem is that even when formal education courses are offered, they do not always meet the individual needs of people living with diabetes. For example, many of them are held at times that are inconvenient for people who work, and are not effectively promoted. Evidence gathered by the group also revealed a lack of ongoing support after diagnosis, such as refresher courses and more informal styles of learning like peer-to-peer groups.

To ensure that everyone living with diabetes has the skills and confidence they need to manage their condition, the report recommends that CCGs commission convenient and high-quality structured education courses and offer top-up modules for all who wish to attend. It also recommends they offer other learning opportunities about diabetes, and support through peers, groups, ‘taster sessions’ and online courses and communities.

Adrian Sanders MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes and who lives with type 1 diabetes, said: “All people with diabetes have to look after their condition day in, day out. This can be extremely difficult, and they only come into contact with doctors and nurses a few times a year. Yet the consequences if they do not manage their diabetes can be devastating.

 “Our report shows that with better commissioning and leadership from national and local government, we can end this postcode lottery of diabetes education. We know that some areas are delivering education and support effectively; we now need to see the NHS getting better at sharing and replicating best practice across all areas. Until this happens we will continue to see people with diabetes unnecessarily facing debilitating complications, and continued unsustainable costs to the NHS.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: “Some pockets of NHS diabetes care offer excellent support. But today’s report highlights that many areas are still underperforming and doing a disservice to people with the condition. We’ve heard first hand from our supporters that there needs to be a change in focus – such as more education on the different type 1 diabetes technology available.”

JDRF continuously strives for a fairer deal for people with type 1 diabetes. To find out more and how you can get involved, go to


Type 1 diabetes hero Pennell returns to England rugby squad

JDRF supporter and rugby pro Chris Pennell, who lives with type 1 diabetes, has returned to England’s squad for the Six Nations.

As full-back cover for another player recovering from concussion – he’s now got a chance to edge back into the team – after being injured himself at the end of last year.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 19, Chris was unsure what this would mean for his future rugby career. But when he heard of other sportspeople living with the condition, he said to the Telegraph: “That gave me instant reassurance and confidence that you can still achieve what you want to achieve.”

In June 2014, Chris became the first rugby player with type 1 diabetes to score a try for England.

Chris – along with his teammates – got behind our #TypeOnesie campaign last year. He said: “There’s been some remarkable work in pioneering type 1 diabetes research recently. Now more than ever is the time to help raise funds for JDRF.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: “Living with type 1 diabetes certainly doesn’t have to stop you from achieving great things – Chris proves this. He is a brilliant role model for people living with the condition.”

Find out what other high-profile celebrities JDRF is grateful to have the support of here.


Who is your type 1?

For Valentine’s Day we asked you to tell us who your loved one with type 1 was. Here are your wonderful images you sent in response.

Whether you have type 1 or love someone who does, support from partners and loved ones can make a big difference. So let's thank those who are here for us every day! 

For a chance to meet some new and friendly faces affected by type 1 diabetes, come along to one of our Type 1 Discovery Days. Find your nearest here.


PM David Cameron announces JDRF collaboration for the cure with British Council

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a collaboration involving JDRF and three other leading medical research charities to fund world-class science.

The four charities are working with the British Council to investigate globally challenging conditions and diseases.

JDRF, the British Heart Foundation, the MS Society and Parkinson’s UK are major contributors to the £3.2 million new research programme at leading universities across Britain and Israel. Mr Cameron announced the programme today via Twitter.

Scientists from universities including Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford will be using cutting-edge research to find cures for type 1 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

These new projects are the latest addition to the British Council’s Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange programme (BIRAX) – a £10 million initiative of the British Council investing in world-leading research jointly undertaken by scientists in Britain and Israel. A call for applications was launched by Mr Cameron last year.

Clare McVicker, Director of Research Advocacy at JDRF in the UK, said: “If medical science is to one day triumph over serious conditions such as type 1 diabetes, international collaboration between the best investigating researchers is utterly vital. JDRF is thrilled to partner with BIRAX to expand its Regenerative Medicine Initiative.”

The type 1 diabetes researchers selected to receive new programme funding will explore exciting aspects of regenerative medicine using stem cell therapies. Regenerative medicine research is an important focus for JDRF given its aim to re-establish insulin production and mediate the immune system’s attack on insulin producing beta cells. This could free people with type 1 diabetes from the daily regime of insulin via injections or a pump.

Madi Jacobson, CEO of JDRF Israel said: "JDRF Israel is excited to take part in the Birax initiative, and proud of the leading Israeli researchers involved. It is truly inspiring to be part of a team which holds investing and promoting innovative medical research in high priority. We trust this collaboration of brilliant scientific minds from Israel and UK will improve the lives of millions affected by type 1 diabetes around the world.”

Alan Gemmell, Director of the British Council in Israel said: “BIRAX combines the best of what Britain and Israel can offer the world; world-class scientists working together to improve the lives of millions of people. When the UK’s education and research sectors engage with Israel, the benefits go beyond our two countries and can be truly universal.”

At JDRF we use the money you raise to fund the best type 1 diabetes research in the world. Find out more about our research programme. 

Learn more about the BIRAX research initiative.


BAFTA nominated The Theory of Everything star supports JDRF

The best-actress BAFTA nominated The Theory of Everything star – Felicity Jones – has shown her support for JDRF.

She’s following in the footsteps of her friend and fellow Hollywood actor Jude Law, who also supports the charity. Both are helping to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes, and are calling on the UK Government to give better support to its medical research.

Talking to JDRF yesterday, Felicity said: “Many medical conditions have such a huge impact on daily life. For some the effects are visually obvious to people. But for others – like type 1 diabetes – it’s not.  I didn’t realise to what extent it takes over – the monitoring, carb-counting, injecting, finger prick-testing.

“At Cambridge, Stephen Hawking revolutionised physics. But the university’s medical science is also amazing. JDRF is funding research there to change the future for those with type 1 diabetes.”

 Felicity plays Stephen Hawking’s first wife in the feature-length The Theory of Everything biopic. And she’ll be at the 68th British Academy Film Awards taking place tonight.  Originally from Birmingham, Felicity has also been nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal in the film.

She added: “I was told about JDRF by Jude Law – who supports its #CountMeIn campaign. It’s a great organisation that’s dedicated to delivering a cure for type 1 diabetes. Until then, it campaigns, it offers support, it does a lot.

“It would be wonderful if more people unaffected by type 1 diabetes knew more about it. So if I can do anything to raise awareness – and help bust some myths – then that’s cool!”

JDRF launched a new manifesto as part of its #CountMeIn campaign last week. Millie’s Manifesto – written by 12 year old JDRF supporter Millie Hainge – is asking politicians to recognise the impact of living with type 1 diabetes.

In the run up to the General Election on 7 May, Millie and JDRF are urging people to share the Manifesto with their MP and the candidates standing for election. To get involved, go to

Photos courtesy of James Appleton Photography.


Behind the headlines: The Daily Mail – fact or fail?

The Daily Mail this morning reported the results of a study from the Lancet under the headline ‘Women with type 1 diabetes are 40 per cent more likely early to die than men with the disease’.

Yet as many people rightly pointed out in the article comments, this headline is somewhat misleading. It could lead people to think that women with type 1 diabetes more often die much younger than men with the condition. This is not the case.

It’s well-known that, on average, women live longer than men. However, in people who have type 1, both men and women have similar lifespans. This means that the effect of type 1 diabetes on lifespan is more pronounced in women than in men ­– this is where the Mail’s 40 per cent statistic comes from. The effect on women is 40 per cent bigger than the effect on men, which amounts to both men and women living a similar amount of time.

The same is true for the other statistics – women tend have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke than men, so if type 1 puts both genders at a similar level, then the effect of having the condition is much bigger for women. They are not, as the Mail suggests, 37 per cent more likely to die of a stroke than men; it is that the effect for women is 37 per cent greater.

In addition, the overall effect of type 1 diabetes upon mortality is getting less and less every year. Last month, we reported a study that showed that people with type 1 are living longer than ever before, and we are funding numerous projects such as AdDIT to combat the threat of complications.

Despite this, both the Mail article and the Lancet study highlight an important point – women with type 1 are being more strongly affected by the condition than men, and we need to address this discrepancy. Studies have found that women have slightly higher HbA1c levels over their lifetimes, and as long-term hyperglycaemia raises the risk of complications, this could contribute to the difference.

Better treatments to support glucose management – including smart insulins and the artificial pancreas – would go a long way towards reducing the impact of type 1 on everyone.

Sarah Johnson, Director of Policy and Communications at JDRF, said: ‘We know that research has shown young girls and women with the condition are more likely to have poorer blood glucose control than their male counterparts. Whatever the reasons are behind that, what’s certain is that every single early death linked to type 1 diabetes is unacceptable.’

She added: 'One day, the cure will be found. To get there, we need research to be better supported.'


Inhaled insulin launches in the US

Afrezza, the inhaled insulin developed by MannKind and licensed to pharmaceutical company Sanofi, has gone on sale in America this week. This means that American adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can now get Afrezza on prescription as a bolus insulin.

However, the drug is not yet approved for people outside the US, for children or for people with chronic lung conditions.

Afrezza is taken using a thumb-sized inhaler at the start of the meal, and passes through the lungs into the bloodstream. The peak insulin level in the blood occurs around 12-15 minutes after use, making it more similar to insulin produced naturally by the pancreas in people without type 1. Most ‘rapid’ insulins peak 30-90 minutes after use.

This 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 it at meals to fine tune their blood glucose levels, alongside the slower-acting insulin being given by the artificial pancreas. This led to smaller blood glucose level peaks at mealtimes.

An additional benefit of the drug is that it could be used as by people who do not want to inject insulin. Pierre Chancel, Senior Vice President of Sanofi’s Diabetes Division, commented: ‘There is a recognized need for an insulin that doesn't require an injection, and our organization is committed to making this new treatment option available to patients.’

We previously covered Afrezza in June 2014 when it was approved for sale by the FDA, making it the only inhaled insulin on the market. A previous inhaled insulin developed by Pfizer, called Exubera, was withdrawn after poor sales and suggestions of an increased risk of lung cancer.


New JDRF partnership offers better future for diabetes data access

In response to the growing international hunger for better access to health data, a new JDRF partnership is offering safe, convenient and reliable access to type 1 diabetes data.  The project was revealed in the UK by the BBC’s flagship technology programme – BBC Click – this weekend.

JDRF is supporting Silicon Valley based non-profit Tidepool in creating the app ‘Blip’ – an open source platform for people with type 1 diabetes who use insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

Through the app, their real-time data will be visible through a cloud platform, to share remotely with healthcare providers, family members, and others. It hopes to greatly reduce the challenges of living with the condition.

It comes after a growing number of people are taking risks by hacking their diabetes medical kit. Some people are currently hacking their CGMs to upload their diabetes data into the cloud. Others are taking it that step further by ‘reverse-engineering’ their insulin pumps or even attempting to create their own artificial pancreas.

Paramedic Rachel Graham has been hacking her daughter Isabel’s self-funded CGM for several months now. She’s been doing this by altering the way they access its data. 

Bristol resident Rachel said: “We’ve struggled a lot in the past because Isabel suffers from hypo unawareness. But by hacking her diabetes devices I can now see what her levels are just by checking my Pebble watch. I can then send a text to Isabel’s own Pebble watch – and to the school – to let them know if she needs treating.

“I can monitor her from home while she is at school and from the ambulance while I’m on night shifts. Now Isabel can go to the park, see her friends and enjoy a lot more freedom – all while I know if she is OK."

Sarah Johnson, Director of Policy and Communications at JDRF said: “We cannot encourage people to hack their medical devices, unsupervised by professionals. But we understand their urge for better access to diabetes data.

“At JDRF we recognise the importance of reducing the burden of living with type 1 diabetes now – and a way of doing that is through technology. That’s why we are partnering with Tidepool.”

In the long term, this collaboration will increase the data available to type 1 diabetes researchers and speed up developments such as the artificial pancreas – a system that could revolutionise the treatment of the condition in the future. 

Learn more about Tidepool here, and see its feature on the latest BBC Click episode from 06:22 in.


Behind the headlines: a probiotic cure for diabetes?

This morning, the Daily Express ran a headline saying ‘Breakthrough pill can CURE diabetes: New drug fights both types of killer disease’. So is it true, can a pill now cure both type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Sadly, no. But the study behind the headline is really interesting.

Researchers at Cornell University, led by Professor John March, have developed a ‘probiotic’ pill containing modified bacteria that are typically found in the human gut and given them to rats with diabetes.

Central to the story is a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, better known as GLP-1. GLP-1 helps to regulate the body’s response to glucose in a meal. It does this by blocking the production of glucagon, so that glucagon does not act to raise glucose levels in the blood still further.

Professor March’s team engineered bacteria so that they would produce GLP-1, then gave a group of diabetic rats feed supplemented with this new ‘probiotic’ and compared them with a group of diabetic rats with un-supplemented feed. Rats given the supplemented feed developed insulin producing cells in their gut – some of the regular gut cells were ‘reprogrammed’ to make insulin. This meant that they showed significant increases in their insulin levels and the research teams estimated that these cells were sufficient to produce up to 33 per cent of a healthy rat’s insulin capacity.

So while this study does not herald a cure for type 1 diabetes, it does show that GLP-1 may have an important role to play in improving treatment for people with the condition.

GLP-1, and molecules that mimic its effect (known as GLP-1 agonists), have been widely researched in type 2 diabetes, and there are now a number of GLP-1 agonists available to help in treating type 2 diabetes. But these drugs have only recently started being investigated in type 1 diabetes – thanks in part to funding from JDRF.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF comments: ‘The Cornell team’s study adds to our understanding of the role GLP-1 and also demonstrates a novel way of increasing GLP-1 levels in the body. It’ll be interesting to see whether the same effects can be observed in humans with diabetes.’


JDRF researchers discover cell behind type 1 diabetes

Researchers at London’s Royal Free Hospital have found the immune system cell responsible for triggering the destruction of insulin-producing cells in type 1 diabetes.

Their finding could lead to new treatments that target this triggering process, potentially offering a way to cure or even prevent the condition.

Type 1 occurs when the body’s own immune system, which is meant to fight off diseases, attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Previous research has found that T cells, part of the immune system, are behind the attack, but this is the first time researchers have identified the specific kind of T cell involved.

The London team, led by Professor Lucy Walker, studied T cells from people with and people without type 1. They found that samples from people with type 1 contained much higher levels of molecules associated with a kind of T cell known as a ‘follicular helper T cell’.

These cells have previously been implicated in other autoimmune conditions such as lupus, but this is the first time they have been identified as being behind the autoimmune attack in type 1.

“Knowing more about the type of T cell that causes type 1 is definitely good news for future treatments” said Professor Walker. “It provides us with a new way of thinking about the cells that are causing the problem, and may allow us to develop different ways of interfering with them.”

While the discovery offers potential for research into a cure for type 1, it could also support research into preventing the condition, explained Professor Walker: “Measuring the level of this specific type of T cell in the blood could turn out to be a way of assessing someone's risk of developing type 1 ­– this is an idea we'd like to explore in the future.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


JDRF Climb Kilimanjaro Challenge wins national award

A major national fundraising institute has recognised JDRF Climb Kilimanjaro as an award winning challenge event.

Classic Tours UK – the organisation which supports the JDRF expedition – won the ‘Best Challenge Events Partner’ category at last night’s Partners in Fundraising Awards.

Staged by the Institute of Fundraising, it won because of its help in putting on the JDRF challenge in 2014. The world record breaking event saw a group of 31 people – 19 of which living with type 1 diabetes – scale Africa’s highest mountain.

It's not too late to sign up. The JDRF Climb Kilimanjaro will be taking place again in June this year.

Rebecca Tomlinson, Senior Challenge and Sport Fundraising Manager at JDRF said: “This is an incredibly well deserved award! Our spectacular charity challenge events with Classic Tours have raised more than £900,000 for JDRF so far.

“A once in a life time opportunity – we look forward to another Kilimanjaro adventure with them this year.”

For more information, and to sign up, go to


Roald Dahl play removes misleading ‘diabetes’ line after JDRF supporter campaigns for change

Hit West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has removed a line saying that ‘eating chocolate causes diabetes,’ after a JDRF supporter campaigned for its change. 

Nathalie Bristow contacted its production company after taking her 8 year old daughter – who lives with type 1 diabetes – to see the show.  

Mrs Bristow said: “My family love the theatre, so were deeply upset and offended when we heard the line about how children will get diabetes if they eat too much chocolate. We nearly left. 

“Thousands of people –including parents and children – see the show every day.  I would hate for others to feel upset too, or for this to have a damaging effect on the perception of type 1 diabetes. The producers could not have been more helpful though – a big theatre listened to us and we made a difference.”

400,000 people in the UK live with type 1 diabetes – nearly 30,000 of which children. And 97 per cent of childhood diabetes is type 1, which is not linked to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

Responding promptly to Mrs Bristow’s concerns, Producer Caro Newling said: “I am so sorry that it had such a negative effect. That was never the intention and it was meant to be entirely humorous.”

She added: “But why upset anyone when you don’t have to? As a result, we have amended the script to drop the reference to diabetes and have replaced it with an alternative comment.”

Spoken by Mrs Pratchett the sweet-seller, the new line went into the show last week and now goes ‘chocolate, chocolate, not one of your five a day.’

Michael Connellan, Senior Media Manager at JDRF said: “It’s frustrating when differences between type 1 and type 2 are ignored in references to ‘diabetes’. Greater recognition of the differences between them is something that JDRF constantly strives for.

“It’s fantastic to see that people and establishments are beginning to recognise these issues, and thank you to Caro Newling. It is important that others continue to follow suit.”

JDRF continuously strives for a fairer deal for people with type 1 diabetes. For more information on our campaigns, and how you could get involved, go to