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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


First natural birth supported by artificial pancreas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




JDRF announced as main charity partner for Great Scottish Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Immune research targets causes of type 1 diabetes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join us – learn more about the #CountMeIn campaign.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The research was published in the American Journal of Transplantation.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Siblings and type 1 diabetes research:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

See more photos from the event here.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also see the Exeter Chiefs’ website. 


Make a splash for JDRF and tackle the Thames this summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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