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All news

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

Displaying February 2012


JDRF supports DWED during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

JDRF is pleased to support Diabetics with Eating Disorders (DWED) during National Eating Disorders Week. DWED is a charity supporting young men and women suffering from diabetes related eating disorders.

DWED aims to address the prevalence of eating disorders in people with type 1 diabetes, supporting people with the condition who deliberately manipulate their insulin in a bid to lose weight. Developing an eating disorder when you have type 1 diabetes is dangerous and can lead young men and women across the UK to experience the devastating complications of blindness and limb amputation. Unfortunately, it can be fatal. Alarmingly, the prevalence of eating disorders in people with type 1 is increasing.

Recent research shows that females with type 1 diabetes are at twice the risk of developing anorexia or bulimia, and as many as 40% of 15-30 year olds regularly don’t inject with insulin. Although less common in males, men with type 1 are also at risk of developing eating disorders. DWED exists to support, increase awareness and improve access to appropriate treatment for those who are affected by diabetes related eating disorders, and encourage eating disorders in people with diabetes to be recognised as a diagnosable mental disorder. 


Improved access to insulin pumps in Scotland

JDRF welcomes the news that all eligible under eighteens with type 1 diabetes in Scotland will now have access to insulin pumps. The Scottish Government has said it is committing funding of at least £1 million to help NHS Boards deliver pumps to under eighteens who need them, as well as tripling the amount of pumps available to all people with the condition in Scotland.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement saying, ‘Insulin pumps mean freedom from having multiple insulin jabs a day - giving Scotland's youngest diabetics a normal childhood. By the end of March 2013, this treatment will be made available to the 480 children and teens struggling with type 1 diabetes who could benefit from it. Over the next three years, NHS Boards will also increase the number of insulin pumps available to all Scots to 2,000, tripling the current amount.

‘Diabetes is a growing problem for Scotland - around 10 per cent per cent of overall hospital expenditure relates to diabetes treatment and complications. Not dealing effectively with diabetes can cause long term health problems and we need to make sure that the youngest people with type 1 diabetes get the best possible treatment as early as possible.’

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF said: ‘This is good news for young people with type 1 in Scotland. Insulin pump therapy can help people manage their condition more effectively and reduce the risk of the devastating long term complications of type 1.

JDRF is focused on improving lives, until we find the cure, and we have been campaigning for some time for improved access to pumps. We are delighted that Scotland is taking the lead in providing excellent treatment for people with type 1 and we hope to see similar improvements across the rest of the UK in the future.’


Behind the headlines: An end to jabs?

In the letters pages of yesterday's Mirror newspaper, you may have seen a letter to Dr Miriam asking about a vaccine that can cure type 1.

Dr Miriam gave a great response explaining that although there is a vaccine in the early stages of clinical trials, a lot more trials need to be done to prove that it works before it can be made available to people with type 1.

In the trial Dr Miriam talked about, JDRF-funded researchers are trying to determine if a fragment of molecule from insulin producing beta cells called ‘proinsulin peptide’ could be used to retrain the immune system not to attack beta cells.

So far, the research team have conducted a small safety trial in people with type 1 diabetes to make sure the treatment is safe for use in humans. This trial showed that the treatment was safe and there were also signs that it may help stop the immune system attacking beta cells. If future trials show that it works well, this treatment may be able to prevent type 1 from progressing in people who have recently been diagnosed with the condition.

Professor Mark Peakman, who is leading the trial, said ‘We are very excited about the proinsulin peptide. Results from our first trials showed that the therapy was safe and we also saw promising signs that it may be effective in turning off the immune response that attacks beta cells. We are now recruiting for a larger study to test if the vaccine does turn the immune response in people with type 1 diabetes’.

If you are interested in finding out more about taking part in these, and other clinical trials, read more about current clinical trials.


Type 1 fundraiser nominated for aware

A life in the day with type 1

Matthew Thackeray, aged 10 from Hartlepool, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2011. In August he was awarded a certificate of merit for writing a creative piece of distinction, which was selected for publication in a Young Writers Anthology.

The book, Once upon a rhyme 2011, has now been published and here is Matthew’s poem, which he would like to share with everyone. 

Life in a day – A diabetic day

I wake up in the morning feeling like normal
Then I go into my cupboard and get out my injection
I put the needle in my leg
I don’t feel it anymore! 

At school I feel shaky
This means I’m low
I put the needle to my finger
I don’t feel it anymore!

At teatime I check my blood count
I have my injection
I put the needle to my leg
I don’t feel it anymore!

At 8 o'clock its bedtime
I have my last injection
I fall asleep
I don’t feel it anymore!

Matthew Thackeray (age nine).


Beta cells: divide and conquer?

JDRF- funded scientists at the University of Pittsburgh in America have uncovered a new way to grow human beta cells in the lab.

The team led by Professor Andrew Stewart, were able to get human beta cells to divide and make more cells. Not only that, but they then managed to stop the cells dividing again. The research was published in this month’s issue of the journal Diabetes.

The researchers added genes called cdk and cyclin d into the beta cells. These genes make the cells divide and are usually switched off in beta cells. To deliver these genes into the cells they used a virus that can get into cells easily. Once they had enough beta cells, they added a drug to the cells which switched off the virus and stopped the cells dividing.

In the body, beta cells divide very slowly or not at all so when the immune system attacks them, the cells are not replaced. Usually in type 1 diabetes there are a few beta cells remaining and if scientists could make these cells divide they could replace the cells destroyed by the immune system.

It is also difficult for scientists to study human beta cells in the lab because beta cells are in such short supply. So making more of them will allow scientists to do more research towards finding a cure for type 1.

Although these researchers had previously shown that they could make beta cells divide, this latest study shows that they have developed a way to stop the cells dividing as well. This is particularly useful because the genes they used to make the cells divide are not usually switched on in beta cells - so when they are dividing a lot they are not identical to the beta cells in the body. Switching these genes off again makes them more similar to ‘real world’ beta cells, which means any discoveries scientists make using these cells  are more likely to be applicable to beta cells in the body.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF, said ‘These are very interesting results because it is often difficult for scientists to get human beta cells to study. Growing beta cells in the laboratory that are as similar as possible to those in our bodies will help type 1 diabetes researchers to test their ideas and develop new ways of treating type 1 much more effectively.’


London Awards evening

London Awards evening celebrates fundraising in 2011

On 17 January, over 120 people attended the London Awards evening at the Law Society in London. The evening saw families and companies from across the region receive awards for their dedication to raising money throughout 2011 to support JDRF and our mission to find the cure for type 1 diabetes. Upon arrival guests were treated to a celebratory glass of champagne and canapés, which was followed by the awards presentations.

The event also gave JDRF the opportunity to thank our 2011 sponsors. These included Macquarie Bank, who have continually supported the JDRF Spin to Cure event, and Ford for their sponsorship of our Walk to Cure Diabetes.

JDRF would like to thank everyone who has raised money or raised awareness of type 1 diabetes in 2011. Without your help and support JDRF would not be able to keep funding vital research into curing, treating and ultimately preventing type 1 diabetes.

If you are thinking of holding your own event or would like some help with your event please contact the Greater London team on


Type 1 support group in Wolverhampton

New type 1 diabetes support group set up in Wolverhampton

A new type 1 diabetes support group has been set up in Wolverhampton by two local mums. The T1 support group is open to anyone who has a child with type 1 diabetes or has type 1 diabetes themselves, and either attends New Cross Hospital or lives near to it and attends a local hospital.

The aim of the group is to connect families together to help provide a support network and hopefully raise money for JDRF!

Join their Facebook group page or contact Hannah at JDRF on or 0121 685 7102 for further details.


Royal interest in type 1 diabetes

Today is an historic moment for JDRF. For the first time ever, we welcomed a member of the royal family to learn about JDRF's research into finding the cure for type 1. HRH Duchess of Cornwall visited the Cambridge Wellcome Trust clinical research facility just after noon today to learn more about type 1 research and to speak to celebrities and young people living with type 1 who have been involved with clinical trials. She met with researchers from the University of Cambridge who are working on developing the Artificial Pancreas and preventing type 1 diabetes and its complications.

HRH spent time with Jeremy Irvine, star of Steven Spielberg’s film, Warhorse who has type 1 diabetes and took part in artificial pancreas trials in 2005 and 2007. He explained how technology helps him manage his type 1 with a hectic filming career.

She also talked to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter Justin Webb and his son Sam who has type 1 diabetes, and discussed the family’s hope for the cure.

The Duchess of Cornwall learned about two JDRF-funded trials. The Artificial Pancreas Project and The Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes Cardio-Renal Intervention Trial (AdDIT).

During the visit, Professor Dunger announced that 3,000 young people have now been screened across three continents as part of this international clinical trial, which is exploring ways to prevent the complications of type 1 diabetes.

Her Royal Highness met Dr Tim Tree and talked about D-GAP, Diabetes – Genes, Autoimmunity and Prevention project, which is exploring the causes and triggers of type 1 diabetes in people affected by the condition.

This visit was a chance for Her Royal Highness to decide how she might like to be associated with JDRF in the future. We are delighted to have had this opportunity to meet her, and look forward to seeing how a relationship might develop with HRH in the future.

Photography by Dominic Clemence


Behind the headlines: diabetes increases the risk of birth defects

You may have read in yesterday’s newspapers reports that children of women who have diabetes are more likely to be born with a birth defect.

These articles discussed a new study by the researchers at Newcastle University. This study showed that  that seven out of every 100 babies born to women with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes were born with birth defects. These defects occur in about two in every 100 babies born to women who do not have diabetes, so this means women with diabetes 3.8 times more likely to have babies with birth defects.

The researchers looked at the records from 401,000 women who gave birth between 1996 and 2008 to see if birth defects were more common in people with diabetes.

Previous research has highlighted this increased risk for women with diabetes, but has also shown that this risk can be significantly reduced by keeping HbA1c levels low at the time of conception. The current research study provides further evidence of this effect:  fewer babies with birth defects were born to women with lower HbA1c levels.

This research highlights the importance of specialised care for pregnant women with diabetes, as careful glucose control is very important during this time. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that women who are planning to become pregnant should aim for an HbA1c level of 6.1, if this can be safely achieved.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF, said, ‘This study is helpful because it shows that while there are increased risks for women with type 1 diabetes who are planning a family, it is possible to reduce those risks significantly. By working with specialist diabetes teams, and potentially making use of glucose control technologies such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, women with diabetes can minimise any risks to themselves and their developing babies’.