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

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22
Apr

Breakthrough JDRF-funded artificial pancreas study welcomed as new data reveals people with type 1 diabetes average ten hypos a week

In a world first, British children with type 1 diabetes have successfully been entrusted to use pioneering artificial pancreas technology all by themselves at home overnight – without the careful supervision of expert researchers. Celebrities that live with the condition, including Hollywood actor Jeremy Irvine, have hailed the findings.

The latest trial, coordinated by the University of Cambridge and funded solely by JDRF, has shown for the first time globally that unsupervised use of the artificial pancreas overnight can be safe – while also providing exciting benefits.

Participants, all aged between 12 and 18, saw improved blood glucose control during the trial and experienced fewer nights with hypoglycaemic episodes.

The breakthrough trial, detailed in the journal Diabetes Care, comes as JDRF reveals UK people living with the condition are experiencing a “shockingly high” average of ten hypos a week – laying bare the urgent need for the artificial pancreas to become an accessible reality.

The figure of ten hypos per week has emerged through a first ever real-time information haul of more than 10,000 UK residents with type 1 diabetes, released to JDRF from the popular mySugr app. It follows the recent revelation that nine per cent of all hospital admissions for children and young people with diabetes are due to hypos.

All previous artificial pancreas trials, in hospitals and in home environments, have seen researchers strictly monitor patients. News of the successful unsupervised trial has had a positive response from UK celebrities that live with type 1 diabetes.

Hollywood actor Jeremy Irvine, who is a JDRF supporter, has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of six. He said: “When the chance came for me to take part in early artificial pancreas trials a few years ago, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to play my own very small part in moving the artificial pancreas closer to reality. I’m really excited to hear of this latest progress – the scientists behind it are my heroes.”

Television presenter Dominic Littlewood gave his reaction to the statistic showing that UK people with type 1 diabetes are having 10 hypos a week. He said: “I have lived with type 1 diabetes for almost 40 years. When you do the maths, 10 per week means I may have had 20,000 hypos in my lifetime. That’s more than many people have had hot dinners. It highlights the challenge that this life-long condition represents.”

He added: “Worrying about hypos – let alone actually having one – is a daily stress for anyone with this condition. I experienced my worst hypo during the night in a hotel room just over 10 years ago. I found myself crawling along my hotel room floor, before finally being hospitalised. It nearly killed me. That’s why JDRF’s progress on the artificial pancreas means a lot to me.”

Sky News presenter Stephen Dixon, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 17, said: “I’ve always refused to let type 1 diabetes hold me back. But minimising hypos does take considerable effort. I always carry Glucogel or a snack around with me in case I feel the symptoms of a hypo come on – which has happened when I've been on air. The artificial pancreas is very exciting technology. I look forward to the time when I can use one myself as part of day-to-day life.”

Dr Roman Hovorka from the University of Cambridge is leading the UK effort to develop an effective artificial pancreas. As principal researcher on the trial, he said: “The study is an important stepping stone for the wider use of an artificial pancreas. We have shown that overnight home use is feasible and beneficial – allowing people to live their life more freely.”

He added: “The artificial pancreas is expected to transform the treatment of type 1 diabetes and we have proven that this promise holds. The success of this trial means that larger and longer studies are already in the pipeline.”

Katharine Barnard, from the Human Development and Health Academic Unit at the University of Southampton, worked with Dr Hovorka on the trial to evaluate psychosocial impact. She said: “Hypoglycaemia – particularly at night – is a common fear among those living with type 1 diabetes and a major obstacle in achieving optimal blood glucose levels. The findings from this study are positive and are certainly worth investigating further.”

She added: “Reassurance, confidence and improved diabetes control are just some of the psychological and physical benefits that patients may witness as artificial pancreas technology continues to develop."

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “Type 1 diabetes is a challenging and complex condition that requires constant management every day. Hypos are what people living with type 1 diabetes hate the most and experiencing ten a week is a shockingly high figure.”

She added: "This particular research was funded solely by JDRF – but we salute the commitment of other organisations around the world who work with us, including Diabetes UK, which are also dedicated to making the artificial pancreas a reality. Continued collaboration is crucial until we find the cure."

 * From the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)’s audit. The nine per cent figure is for England and Wales. The full audit can be accessed online.

15
Apr

Type 1 more common in Sweden than previously thought

Up to three times more Swedish young people are being diagnosed with type 1 than current estimates suggest, according to new research.

The finding suggests that other countries, including the UK, could also be undercounting the number of people with the condition.

Sweden is already known to have the world’s second highest incidence of under-15s with type 1, with 43 new diagnoses made per 100,000 children every year. In common with many other countries, this rate is increasing while the rate in adults has remained comparatively low and stable.

However, the numbers are based on two different sources: the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register, which covers under-15s, and the Diabetes Incidence Study in Sweden (DISS), for people from 15 to 34 years old.

The new study, led by Dr Araz Rawshani of the Swedish National Diabetes Register, used another method to count the number of people with type 1. It looked at the prescribed drugs register for people who had been prescribed insulin, but never given oral glucose-lowering drugs (which are used for people with type 2 diabetes).

Although the prescription rate among under-15s matched the official rate almost exactly, there was a big difference for other age groups – for example, almost three times as many 15 to 19-year olds were being prescribed insulin as were being recorded in the DISS.

This suggests that there are many young people with type 1 who are not being recorded in the official statistics – which has implications for monitoring, research and even funding decisions in the future.

Earlier this year, JDRF launched #CountMeIn – the campaign to get more Government funding for type 1 research. If the number of people with type 1 is even higher than estimates suggest, this makes funding type 1 research more important than ever.

Dr Rawshani noted that this was an important finding, not just for Sweden, but for other countries around the world: ‘We now have a simple method to monitor [the condition] on a nationwide scale, but many more multinational efforts are needed to resolve the conundrum of type 1 diabetes.’

The research was published in the journal Diabetologia.

11
Apr

Aberdeen Circus Ball raises £105,000 for JDRF

Aberdeen maintained its impressive fundraising record on 22 March when the ninth JDRF Gala Ball in Aberdeen, held at The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa, raised £105,000 on the night.

The evening was circus themed, and guests were welcomed and entertained throughout the evening by fire jugglers, stilt walkers, balloon modellers, showgirls and dancing from the Scott School of Dancing.

After the drinks reception, guests moved up to the ballroom where their host, radio and television personality Grant Stott, welcomed them. The ballroom, decked out in the style of a big top tent in red and white, looked stunning. Attendees heard from Michelle Vivers, whose son Jaxon was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 22 months old. Michelle spoke movingly about the impact that type 1 has on Jaxon. The raffle was drawn and then we were underway with the live auction.

Dr Tim Tree, Senior Lecturer at King’s College, London also spoke. Dr Tree gave a fascinating speech on his work to reset the immune system. He and his team are working to stop the immune system destroying beta cells that are still being produced in bodies of those with type 1 diabetes. This would also allow beta cell transplants to take place and be a cure for those with type 1. Lot 13 was then auctioned, with guests pledging donations towards this research project.

By the end of the night a staggering £105,000 had been raised. Thank you so much to all of you who attended, donated and volunteered and to our very generous corporate sponsors.

Catriona Morrice, Regional Fundraiser for JDRF Scotland, said:

‘JDRF Scotland would like to thank everyone who attended the Circus Ball, kindly donated prizes and volunteered their time on the evening. Together with the hard work of the ball committee in organising the event, everyone helped to make the evening such a fantastic success. A huge thank you 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.’

We look forward to seeing you at the Aberdeen Ball in 2015!

Tickets are still available for the Circus Ball in Edinburgh on 7 June 2014. Click here to find out more and purchase tickets »

This is an edited version of an article that appears in the next issue of JDRF's magazine, Type 1 Discovery. To sign up for a year's free subscription, click here »

You can few photos from the evening in the Flickr album below

Sponsors

JDRF would like to thank the following sponsors for their kind support:

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Theme Sponsor

Drinks Reception Sponsor

Media Partner

Table Gifts

John Thompson

Bidding System

Taylor's Auctioneers Montrose

Table Decorations

Eden Creative Florists

02
Apr

Medtronic opens registration for its Junior Cup football championship

Insulin pump manufacturer Medtronic has opened registration for its Junior Cup Diabetes 2014. Established in 2007, the Medtronic Junior Cup is a football championship for boys and girls with type 1 diabetes.

The event this year will take place in August, in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Competition to be crowned World Champions will be tough, with over 150 children from 12 countries taking part.

To enter, Medtronic's competition criteria state that you need to be between 10 and 14, be an insulin pump user, have never participated in the Junior Cup Diabetes before and be available to travel to the Netherlands for 22-24 August (three days and two nights). Registration closes on 30 June.

To enter, visit Medtronic’s website and fill out an application form »

01
Apr

Glamorous Downton Abbey dinner raises funds for JDRF and National Osteoporosis Society

Downton Abbey stars took a break from shooting for the show’s much-anticipated fifth season with a charity dinner in support of JDRF.

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern (who play Lord and Lady Grantham), Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt (Mr and Mrs Bates) and Jim Carter (Mr Carson) graced the event on 27 March, which was also staged in support of the National Osteoporosis Society.

140 guests dined exclusively in the Library of Highclere Castle, the Hampshire stately home now known globally by its fictional name of Downton Abbey. JDRF supporter Lord Julian Fellowes, the show’s creator, was in attendance with his wife Lady Emma Kitchener. Iconic actress and JDRF patron Lady Susan Hampshire OBE was also present.

The real-life owners of Highclere Castle, The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, kindly hosted the party. All proceeds from the evening went to both charities and an incredible total of £172,000 has been raised so far.

With the show currently set in the Roaring Twenties, dinner guests were transported back to this era of glitz and glamour. Guests were able to bid on exclusive and unique prizes in a silent auction that included Lady Cora’s tiara and Lady Edith’s earrings as biddable items. A live auction was later hosted by Downton’s well-loved Jim Carter.

Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF said: “We are immensely grateful to The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon for hosting such a wonderful evening and supporting our mission to treat, prevent and eventually cure type 1 diabetes. Our warmest thanks also go to Lord and Lady Fellowes, Susan Hampshire, and all who supported the event.”

Lord Fellowes – whose full title is the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford – is a strong supporter of both type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis issues. It has been reported that a future Downton Abbey episode could feature a character who is affected by type 1 diabetes.

26
Mar

Diabetes no longer the leading cause of blindness

JDRF has long funded research into treating and preventing eye complications, from studies looking at genetic susceptibility, to our multi-million dollar collaboration with the UK company KalVista, which is developing a treatment for diabetic macular oedema.

Now, research from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London has found that eye conditions related to diabetes are no longer the most common cause of blindness in England and Wales – and suggest a focus on research is behind the fall.

The researchers, led by Dr Gerald Liew, looked at the number of people being registered as severely sight impaired or blind in both 1999 and 2009, and found that the proportion of people whose visual impairment was caused by diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy fell from 18% to 14%.

Over the same period, the proportion of people being registered as blind due to hereditary retinal disorders increased from 16% to 20%.

This makes it the first time since at least 1963 that diabetes-related eye conditions were not the most common cause of blindness in England and Wales, and it comes despite an overall rise in the number of people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.

This suggests that screening programmes and better treatments are having a marked effect on the progression of diabetes-related eye conditions, with the researchers noting that: “A prolonged focus on prevention and treatment of diabetic eye disease has most likely contributed to the decline in blindness certifications from this disorder among working age adults.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: "This progress on tackling diabetes-related eye conditions is really positive news - congratulations to all JDRF supporters and researchers, who have played a genuine part in making it happen. But if we are to accelerate this sight-saving progress, the Government must play its part. UK Government investment into type 1 diabetes research has actually fallen by £3 million since 2009."

The research was published in the journal BMJ Open.

26
Mar

Team of nine to cycle from Northampton to Bath in aid of JDRF

A team of nine are taking on the challenge of cycling the 116 miles from Northampton to Bath over a day and a half to raise money for JDRF.

James Gribble, James Downey, Alistair Mayer, Jack Newman, John Austin, Tony Entwistle, Tom Morgan, James Brough and Carlton Strowbridge from Fed3 Projects in Northampton have timed the ride to coincide with the Bath Rugby vs Northampton Saints rugby fixture on Friday 2 May 2014. They plan to leave the Northampton Saints' Franklins Gardens rugby ground early on 1 May and arrive at Bath Rugby’s ground the Rec at 1pm match day.

Money raised from the feat will go towards JDRF's work to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes, as well as to Help for Heroes and the Bath Rugby Foundation. They have set a fundraising target of £5,000 for their chosen charities and have already raised over £2,000. Team member John Austin put JDRF forward as one of the chosen charities as his daughter has had type 1 diabetes since the age of four.

John said: 'My daughter Francesca has had type 1 diabetes since the age of four. She is now 14, and in this period we have seen many advances in technology and research to help deal with the consequences and treatment of type 1 diabetes. My wife and I have helped to raise money for JDRF previously and want to help again to help raise funds.'

You can find out more about their challenge and donate on their JustGiving page.

25
Mar

From ‘Patient’ to ‘Person’ – rethinking the way we treat people with diabetes

From 5 to 7 March 2014, diabetes specialists from across the country came together in Liverpool for the 2014 Diabetes UK Professional Conference. Alongside new technology and research announcements, one of the big themes to emerge from the three-day event was the importance of putting the person – not just their diabetes – at the heart of their treatment.

Right from the first day, this was clear: a workshop hosted by Dr Eleanor Kennedy, of the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, and Professor Jane Speight, Director of The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, provided researchers with the opportunity to learn how to adapt their language to suit a non-academic audience. The suggestion to avoid jargon was met with general agreement, but there was much more debate over words such as ‘control’ and ‘compliance’. These words are common to scientific papers, but are they unfair to the person with diabetes?

Professor Speight referred to Diabetes Australia’s position statement on language: a condition like diabetes can never easily be ‘controlled’ when there are so many external factors that affect it; using the word suggests the person should be able to manage their diabetes, and is to blame if things go wrong. ‘Compliance’ is similar – the person may not be matching the expectations of their healthcare professional, but the word implies this is the person’s fault, even if the guidance they receive is poor, or if there are difficult circumstances.

A later discussion hosted by Professor Stephen Greene of the University of Dundee asked whether we should be giving more or less flexibility to people receiving treatment for their diabetes, in terms of pumps and training styles. Some argued that we don’t give a choice of treatment for other conditions, but others countered that having a self-managed condition means that people need to be motivated – and everyone responds differently to different motivations.

The following day, JDRF-funded researcher Professor Colin Dayan of Cardiff University highlighted the importance of clinical trials to people with type 1. Just 5% of people with type 1 take part in a trial, but these trials are leading us to advances such as the artificial pancreas and drug treatments for type 1. He asked what might make people more likely to take part in trials – is it a question of wanting to know the risks, or is it simply that people aren’t being told about trials?

Dr Tim Tree, another JDRF-funded researcher, working at King’s College London, showed us how type 1 research has come along in his lifetime, offering his perspective both as someone with type 1 and as a researcher. When he was young, it was only possible to find out if someone had autoantibodies, or not. Now several different types have been discovered and it is known that having more than one kind heightens the risk of developing type 1. Forty years ago, it was discovered  that type 1 was an autoimmune condition; now Dr Tree is researching the mechanisms behind the immune system’s attack on the pancreas, isolating and characterising the cells responsible both for preventing and for leading the process.

Finally, a session on the artificial pancreas (a device that uses CGM readings to instruct an insulin pump to deliver the correct amount of insulin) announced some promising results. Dr Roman Hovorka, who is funded by JDRF and Diabetes UK and is leading the University of Cambridge artificial pancreas team, hopes to publish these later in the year. He also showed off the next generation prototype artificial pancreas – which uses an Android phone – which would make it much more portable for the people using it.

But the session went beyond the usual statistics such as HbA1c levels, including a talk from Dr Kath Barnard of the University of Southampton, who is tracking the psychological impact of the technology. She has seen how the artificial pancreas can improve the sleep and overall wellbeing of both the trial participants and their parents, and says that the majority of people on the trial are positive about its benefits – once more highlighting the importance of the person in their treatment.

JDRF tweeted from the conference. To read more and see pictures of the event you can follow the story here.

24
Mar

JDRF T1 Youth Ambassadors organise indoor skydives that raise £9,000

JDRF puts on lots of different events throughout the year, but they don't get much more exciting than Come Fly With Us - the indoor skydive which happened on 15 March and raised a huge £9,000 to support JDRF's work to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

Organised by JDRF T1 Youth Ambassadors Daniel Walls, Laura Dunion and Mimi Astle, there were three events across the country, in Milton Keynes, Basingstoke and Manchester.

Indoor skydiving is just like normal skydiving, except it’s done in a giant flight chamber that’s a bit like a wind tunnel. 

A big thank you to all who took part, even Rufus who also learnt to skydive.

JDRF will be organising another Indoor Skydive on Saturday 22 November, so keep an eye on the website for more details.

To find out more about becoming a T1 Youth Ambassador, click here »

20
Mar

Vitamin D shortage in children at risk of type 1 diabetes

At JDRF, we are dedicated to curing, treating and preventing type 1 diabetes. This means that many of our researchers are looking for better ways to identify those at risk of developing the condition, so that we can deliver treatment as early as possible.

A new paper from a JDRF-funded study in Munich, Germany, has added to this knowledge by investigating the relationship between low vitamin D levels and type 1 diabetes, and finding a possible indirect link between the two.

Vitamin D is a hormone that is commonly found in fish oil and egg yolk, and is synthesised naturally in the body by exposure to sunlight. Historically, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rickets and kidney failure in the elderly, but more recently, a lack of vitamin D has been linked to type 1, with some debate over the potential for dietary supplementation of vitamin D to protect against the condition.

The Munich team classified children into three groups: those with ‘pre’ type 1, based on the presence of immune cells called autoantibodies, which are a known predictor of type 1; those with type 1; and those having no autoantibodies and therefore no diabetes.

They then tested vitamin D levels in all three groups and found the group with no autoantibodies had the highest level of vitamin D, followed by the pre-type 1 and type 1 groups, respectively, suggesting that low vitamin D is more common in children with type 1 than in those without. 

Because of this, they highlight the potential for vitamin D deficiency to serve as an additional marker for risk of type 1.

This difference was only significant in the summer, when vitamin D levels rose in children without autoantibodies, but stayed low the other two groups. The researchers, led by Professor Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, suggest that a genetic susceptibility to low vitamin D levels, combined with reduced exposure to sunlight, may be behind this difference.

They also suggest that, rather than a direct link (such as type 1 being caused by low vitamin D), the vitamin D deficiency might be caused by elevated levels of autoantibodies, which in turn is a major factor in type 1 diabetes. Indeed, the researchers noted that among the children in the pre-type 1 group, variation in vitamin D levels did not affect the rate at which they later developed type 1 diabetes. This suggests that the two factors are linked, but not causally.

As a result, this research complements JDRF’s work into the environmental triggers of type 1. The TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young) study is tracking the diets and illnesses of young people at high risk of developing type 1, looking for potential triggers of the condition. Research that suggests that vitamin D is not a direct cause of type 1 will help validate the work if it finds a similar result.

The research was published in the journal Diabetologia.

18
Mar

JDRF supporter takes on Fleet Half Marathon and raises over £2,700

A huge thank you to JDRF supporter Mark Noble, who ran the Fleet Half Marathon for JDRF on 16 March, raising a huge £2,789.

Mark completed the course in just over two hours – considered an impressive feat by runners. However, this is made all the more of an achievement considering 16 March was the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures topping out at 18 degrees and that Mark only took up running a short while ago.

Initially entering the Fleet Half as a personal goal, Mark was inspired by his friends Jeremy and Lynne Sanders whose daughter, Paige, was diagnosed with type 1 two years ago, at the age of four. The response to his fundraising has been immense and Mark has raised £2,789 including gift aid.

Mark said: 'The heat and the undulating course made the running more challenging than I thought. My legs are still a bit on the sore side but well worth the pain for a very worthy cause.'

10
Mar

Behind the headlines: Is vitamin D protective against type 1 diabetes?

You may have read an article in The Telegraph today that suggests increasing a person’s level of vitamin D could help prevent type 1 diabetes.

The main role of vitamin D in the body is to keep bones and teeth healthy and there are many benefits to ensuring that you get the recommended daily allowance. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight but it is also found in oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals.

There has been a lot of research into this topic in recent years and there is potential evidence of a link between vitamin D deficiency and a number of conditions including type 1 diabetes.

Some research has indicated that many children and teenagers with type 1 do have low vitamin D levels, and there is evidence to suggest that there is variation in genes involved with metabolism of vitamin D in young people with type 1.

Other studies have shown that vitamin D may help preserve beta cell function in people with new-onset type 1.

However, no clinical trials have yet demonstrated that adding more vitamin D to a diet can conclusively prevent type 1.

The Department of Health currently recommends:

All pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D, to ensure the mother’s requirements for vitamin D are met and to build adequate foetal stores for early infancy.

All babies and young children aged 6 months to 5 years should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D in the form of vitamin drops, to help them to meet the requirement set for this age group of 7.0-8.5 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

However, babies who are fed infant formula will not need vitamin drops until they are receiving less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as these products are fortified with vitamin D.

Breastfed infants may need to receive drops containing vitamin D from one month of age if their mother has not taken vitamin D supplements throughout pregnancy.

People aged 65 years and over and people who are not exposed to much sun should also take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D. 

06
Mar

Pub allegedly bans patron with type 1 diabetes for injecting insulin openly

A pub has allegedly banned a patron for injecting insulin in front of other customers.

The incident reportedly took place when 46-year-old Neil Sampson was with friends at O’Donoghues pub in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, last week. Neil, who lives with type 1 diabetes, was allegedly taken aside by the landlady and asked to leave after injecting insulin through his clothing.

The claim was reported this week in the Maidenhead Advertiser. In response to the claim the landlady’s husband, John Ashton, said to the paper: “He is a regular customer and he has been told on many occasions not to do it in public.”

 He added: “We would hope people do it discreetly.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said in response to the story: “More than 400,000 people live with type 1 diabetes in the UK alone. Management of the condition is a challenge each and every day. When this is not appreciated and understood, it can put extra pressure on those that live with the condition and their families.”

She added: “Nobody who relies on injecting insulin to stay alive should feel that they have to hide away while doing it.”

26
Feb

Charity of the year title raises over £400 for JDRF

When Andy Street from Bromsgrove was chosen as Captain of the Bromsgrove Golf Centre for 2013 he picked JDRF as their charity of the year. They went on to raise over £400 to support JDRF's work to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes. Andy's teenage son Harry has had type 1 for 12 years.

The Centre had a fantastic year of fundraising, holding a variety of different events including an away day at Wishaw Golf Club, while ladies captain Margaret Reynolds held a fashion day helped by Andy’s wife Carol. In November the club's other lady members held a presentation night, where those who have won awards at the club over the year are formally presented, which made the biggest contribution to their grand total. They topped up their fundraising by holding various raffles throughout the year, as well as a Captain's Bunker – a competition where landing in the course's bunker leads to cash forfeits.

Andy said: 'Our teenage son Harry, has had type 1 for 12 years. He has had a tough time due to also having asperger syndrome which has greatly complicated his care. Without the hope of improvements to monitoring and treatment which can only come from research, it would be immensely difficult to be able to motivate him enough to maintain his health. We are delighted to be able to make a small contribution to JDRF on behalf of Harry and the generous members of Bromsgrove Golf Club.'

25
Feb

Race to develop artificial pancreas hots up

JDRF has long supported development of the artificial pancreas, a closed loop system that would include a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump, and set up the artificial pancreas consortium to help promote development of this technology around the world. This includes 21 clinics located around the world that are all involved with some aspect of research into the artificial pancreas.

The 7th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes in Vienna, Austria, attended by JDRF, focused on the exciting developments that have happened recently that will help make the artificial pancreas a reality in the near future.

In the UK, Roman Hovorka from the University of Cambridge is leading the JDRF-funded efforts in this field. As reported in a paper published in Diabetes Care last year, he and his colleagues showed that adolescents using a prototype artificial pancreas over a period of 36 hours in a research facility had significantly lower and less variable blood glucose levels than those using conventional pump therapy. More recently, Hovorka and team have had positive results in home-based studies.

The Cambridge prototype is far from the only one being developed. Many other researchers around the world are working on similar but subtly different models, often aimed at different subgroups of people with type 1, and a large number of these projects were discussed at the conference. For example, Moshe Phillip and colleagues have developed and are testing the ‘Glucositter’ artificial pancreas in Germany, Slovenia and Israel; and Edward Damiano and his US-based team have developed and are testing a ‘bionic pancreas’ in Boston.

Advances in artificial-pancreas related technology were a key theme of the meeting. Manufacturers Dexcom and Medtronic have responded to the successes of the competing global artificial pancreas research groups by improving the efficacy of their pumps and sensors.

Dexcom’s G4 Platinum CGM, shown to be more accurate than Medtronic’s Enlite CGM in a new study presented in Vienna, has already been upgraded by the development of the G4AP. Dexcom developed the new sensor technology, which is even more accurate than the G4 Platinum CGM, in conjunction with the University of Padova in Italy, specifically for use as part of an artificial pancreas system.

Similarly, Medtronic has already improved upon its MiniMed 530G, the first available pump system approved in both Europe and the US with a “low glucose suspend” feature that will automatically stop insulin delivery from the pump for two hours when an associated CGM reaches a preset low blood glucose level. While the 530G system is considered to be the first step of six on the path to a working artificial pancreas, the Medtronic MiniMed 640G is thought to be the second. The difference between the 530G and the 640G is that the latter will suspend insulin when hypoglycaemia is predicted, whereas the former will only do so if a preset hypoglycemic threshold is crossed. Medtronic hopes to launch the 640G in Europe sometime between mid 2014 and early 2015, and in two-to-three years in the US.

A key to the puzzle that remains to be solved is the speed which insulin can be absorbed into the body from an external pump, as with currently available options there is a delay of up to 20 minutes between insulin administration and uptake in the blood which makes smooth interaction between a CGM and an insulin pump tricky. A faster acting insulin than those currently available could solve this problem, but has yet to be developed.

Another method of speeding up insulin delivery is by going via the stomach. Eric Renard from Montpellier University, France is an expert on ‘intraperitoneal’ insulin pumps and spoke about them at the conference. The main problem with these pumps is that they have to be implanted in the stomach and are therefore quite invasive for most people with type 1. However, they can be very effective at improving blood glucose control in people whose diabetes is difficult to control. Renard is hoping to develop an artificial pancreas with an intraperitoneal pump, in order to improve treatment for people with highly variable response to insulin. 

JDRF tweeted from the conference. To read more and see pictures of the event you can follow the story here.

14
Feb

Olympian with type 1 diabetes skis to success

Congratulations to Sochi Olympian Kris Freeman, who successfully completed the Cross-Country Men’s Classic 15km race today in a time of 42:54.8 minutes.

Kris was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nearly 14 years ago, and is believed to be the only person with the condition to ever compete in a winter endurance sports event at the Olympics.

The 33-year-old from the United States demonstrates that living with type 1 diabetes should not stop people living their lives to the full and proves what someone with the condition can achieve.

Talking to Diabetes Health, Kris said: “Any person newly diagnosed with diabetes has a steep learning curve as far as learning how to care for themselves. I was pretty much determined from day one to continue on with my career.”

He added: “Despite talking to several doctors – three who told me that it was not possible to continue on with Olympic aspirations with diabetes – I went on and finally found a doctor who did believe in me. We started working together and here I am.”

When not in training, you can find Kris travelling to summer camps for children with diabetes across America. Kris said: “One of the things that I always stress when I talk to them is that the innovations in diabetes care have gotten so much better. The previous limitations and old ideas about what a person with diabetes can and can't do are now outdated.”

JDRF supporter Chris Southwell – who is a professional snowboarder and all-round sports fanatic – is another who knows all about the challenges of managing type 1 diabetes while competing. In September and October 2013, Chris completed a charity cyclefrom Brussels to Barcelona in 13 days and ran 100 miles in five days across the Himalayas.

Chris said: “I hope that my life experiences will motivate and inspire other people and particularly young people – which is the reason why I am an ambassador for JDRF. I strongly support the important work it does to find the cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.  I believe that if you have the right control, determination, positive outlook and attitude you can achieve even your wildest of dreams… I am living mine!”

Chris will be participating in JDRF Climb Kilimanjaro in June this year. He will be making history with 18 others that live with type 1 diabetes – believed to be the largest group of people with the condition ever to scale Africa’s highest mountain.

You could embark on your own challenge adventure for JDRF – see the range of exciting options for 2014.

Photo credit to Sarah Brunson

14
Feb

JDRF supporters raise over £10,000 scaling Aconcagua

Congratulations and a huge thank you to JDRF supporters Steve Stanaway and Brad Lincoln for conquering Aconcagua, the highest peak on earth outside of the Himalayas. They have raised over £20,000, which will be split equally between JDRF and Awyr Las, the charity for better healthcare in North Wales.

Steve lives in Cheshire and is an NHS Consultant in diabetes at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres.

Steve said: 'The summit day was enough to test us to our limits especially after all the previous days in tents, in the cold, eating the stuff we were eating, losing muscle mass and being at very high altitude.

'The weather was mischievous on the mountain and we were the first summiters in nine days due to an avalanche risk and high winds. It actually turned on us again just as we hit the summit and we had a difficult walk down to high camp to sleep. For a few days it looked like we may not even get to the top.

'Temperatures dropped to minus 10 at night and windchill outside in the day was even lower. It was the hardest thing I've ever done.'

Before setting off on this incredible challenge in January Steve said: 'Speaking as not only a doctor but also as a dad and inspired and motivated by the fortitude of many of my patients I also want my campaign to in turn inspire young people to set themselves challenges, targets and aims and strive to achieve them. Life is for living and should be embraced. The environment around us is for exploring (and respecting) and any hurdles faced in life are surmountable.'

03
Feb

Our intrepid transatlantic rowers complete 3,000 mile charity challenge in triumph

Two friends have reached dry land in triumph after spending 50 days crossing the mighty Atlantic in a small rowing boat – to raise money for JDRF.

Alex Bland and Harry Martin-Dreyer finally reached the coast of Barbados on Saturday 1 February, after setting off from Gran Canaria on 12 December last year and facing a host of dangers along the way.

They witnessed pods of dolphins, schools of whales, sharks and flying fish – the latter causing hilarity on board as both men experienced a direct hit to the face whilst rowing. They also lost most of their excess body fat and grew beards of varying quality!

The pair, who both hail from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, left their jobs in the City to take on the challenge and have raised over £137,000 for both JDRF and Cure Leukaemia.

Their thoughts and feelings have made for a tantalizing read via their regular blog updates along the way.

Alex and Harry celebrated Christmas and New Year on board ‘Alexandra’, their two man boat named after Harry’s mother who sadly passed away in March last year from leukaemia. Alex’s brother Ross lives with type 1 diabetes. These personal stories were what compelled them to take on the waves and embark on this remarkable test of human endurance.

Their progress has been steady, but not without perils and unforgettable experiences.  Massive waves they have nicknamed ‘sidewinders’ battered and bruised them mentally and physically. Blisters, sores, extreme heat, exhaustion and mind-numbing boredom tested their strengths to the limit but never broke their will to complete the crossing.

Both men saw the solitude and magnificence of the open Atlantic Ocean in all its beauty, stating that: “In our everyday lives few of us have the luxury of time and beautiful surroundings in which to enjoy complete unadulterated contemplation.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “Harry and Alex have proved themselves phenomenal fundraisers as well as athletes. Among the long list of heroic challenges that people have undertaken to support type 1 diabetes research, this stands out as something truly exceptional. Their magnificent journey will take us closer to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, a condition which affects 400,000 people in the UK alone. We are deeply thankful.”

To see how our heroic rowers have gone from strength to strength, you can watch this insightful video, filmed last year during their initial training period. The messages of support they received during their crossing came from far and wide, and these have been a constant comfort for them both.

Harry and Alex are looking to raise £150,000 in total. It is still not too late to make a donation and catch up on their remarkable voyage via www.rowing4research.com

28
Jan

JDRF supporter to raise money with photoshoot

After raising over £1,000 for JDRF in 2012, Nottinghamshire-based photographer Rob Ferrol is hoping to capture more success this year with his second Rufford Abbey charity photoshoot.

The mass model photoshoot will once again be at Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire and will take place on 17 May 2014. Rob's son Andrew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, and Rob wants to use his passion for photography to help find the cure.

Rob said, “The ruined abbey is a beautiful setting which will create a great opportunity for any photographer wanting to try model and portrait photography, build a portfolio or add new images to an existing portfolio. Over 30 photographers and nine models showed their support in 2012 and it would be great to have an even bigger event this time round. I hope the photoshoot will raise lots of money for JDRF and awareness of type 1, while at the same time providing a unique photographic opportunity.”

To donate go to Rob's JustGiving page and for further details see Rob's website.

27
Jan

Team of six to cycle across six countries in six days for JDRF

A team of six JDRF supporters are planning to cycle 500 miles across six European countries in six days this April to raise money for JDRF.

Team JDRFluxembourgcycle are Charlie Dunn and five friends from Essex (pictured right along with support staff). Charlie’s nine-month-old son Frank was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. This incredible challenge will involve the amateur cyclists pedalling from Orsett in Essex to Luxembourg in just six days, a grand total of 500 miles.

Charlie and his team have already raised over £ 2,500 for JDRF. We would like to say a big thank you to Charlie and good luck for this brilliant challenge. If you would like to find out more and support JDRFluxembourgcycle you can do so at justgiving.com/JDRFluxembourgcycle