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

Displaying March 2012


Minister of Health for Care Services welcomes Type 1 Parliament

We’re delighted to let you know that Paul Burstow, Minister of Health for Care Services, has spoken in Parliament welcoming JDRF’s Type 1 diabetes lobbying event. The Minister made his comments during a Commons debate on diabetes on Friday, stating:

“I welcome the fact that there will be a type 1 diabetes parliamentary lobby by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the next month or so to highlight some of the relevant issues.”

With JDRF’s Type 1 Parliament quickly approaching, a ministerial mention in Parliament goes a long way in helping raise awareness of the event and of some of the key issues surrounding type 1. In addition to drawing attention to Type 1 Parliament, the Minister also spoke about access to insulin pumps and medicine. The full debate can be accessed here.


Behind the headlines: Diabetes complications at ‘record high’

You may have seen articles on BBC News and in The Independent today reporting that the number of people experiencing the complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is on the rise.

An audit of 1.9 million people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes found more than 13,000 had a stroke in 2009-10, a 57% rise from 2006-7. And more than 7,000 had kidney failure, up 31% from 2006-7.

JDRF is appalled to see such an increase in people experiencing complications such as strokes and kidney failure and we fully support Diabetes UK’s action to ensure all people with diabetes get the health checks that they need.

At JDRF, we’re focused on keeping people with type 1 healthy, whilst we search for the cure. We know that being able to control your blood glucose level as tightly as possible can help to reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications – in fact achieving a drop in HbA1c of just 10% can reduce your risk of developing complications by as much as 40%. But unfortunately some people with type 1 diabetes do still develop diabetes-related complications.

This is why a significant part of our research is focused on understanding how type 1 diabetes causes complications, and developing drugs, treatments and therapies to stop or reverse the impact of these complications.
You can read about different projects we fund here .


Exercising care with type 1 diabetes

Recent news from the University of Bristol highlights a new study designed to find out if exercise can help to keep insulin-producing beta cells working normally in people newly diagnosed with type 1. The study, called ExTOD, will look at how regular exercise can affect the progression of type 1 diabetes in this group of people.

Led by Dr Rob Andrews, ExTOD will consist of two parts. In the first phase, the researchers will conduct a one-off interview with people living with type 1 to discuss how they feel about exercise and any barriers they feel may stop them from exercising. In the second phase of the study, people who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 will be divided into two groups – one group will have form the control group’ with normal care from the specialist diabetes team, while the other group will also be asked to undertake a special exercise programme. During the year-long study, participants from both groups will complete regular fitness tests, blood tests and questionnaires to measure whether the exercise programme has a positive effect on blood glucose control.

Exercise and type 1 is popular topic at the moment: the journal Diabetes Care has just published the results of a study investigating how different types of exercise can affect people with type 1.

In this project, researchers from the University of Ottawa in Canada looked at what happened to blood glucose levels during different combinations of exercise. They asked participants to spend 45 minutes lifting weights, followed by 45 minutes running or vice versa while wearing a continuous glucose monitor.

The researchers found that when participants ran before lifting weights, their blood glucose levels dropped almost straight away and didn’t recover until close to the end of the session. But when participants lifted weights before running, their blood glucose levels remained in the normal range throughout most of the workout.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF commented: ‘We know that people with type 1 can find it difficult to work out the best way to exercise while keeping their blood glucose levels in a safe range. So the more information that research projects like these can provide for people with type 1 and their healthcare teams, the better.’


Are you lighting the way to the Olympics?

We’re delighted to learn that many of you have been chosen to be Olympic Torch bearers for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay and will be carrying the flame on its way to the games.

The London 2012 Organising Committee has selected 8,000 inspirational people to carry the Olympic Torch as it journeys through over 1,000 towns across the UK before the opening ceremony. We’re thrilled that many of you will be carrying the torch to help raise awareness of type 1 diabetes.Congratulations and thank you to all JDRF supporters who have let us know that they have been successful in becoming a torch bearer. If you have been selected but have not yet notified JDRF, please do so by contacting We’d like to spread the word about type 1 having its time in the spotlight.


Beta cells grow up

JDRF-funded scientists at Harvard University have provided new insights into to how stem cells develop to become insulin-producing beta cells.

The team, lead by Professor Doug Melton, have identified a marker which allows them to distinguish mature beta cells (which can produce insulin) from immature beta cells (which cannot).  The study is published in this month’s issue of the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology.

Many scientists are working on ways to turn stem cells into beta cells. So far, they have managed to turn stem cells into immature beta cells in the lab, that when transplanted into mice will become mature beta cells that release insulin in response to glucose.  Although this is excellent progress, transplanting immature beta cells into humans is not ideal as there is a chance that some of the immature beta cells may not develop as expected, and instead begin multiplying out of control, causing cancer. For this reason, scientists want to be able to make fully mature beta cells in the laboratory which would then be much more suitable for transplantation.

Professor Melton’s work takes us a step further towards making mature beta cells in the lab. They have identified a protein that is found in mature beta cells but not in immature non- insulin producing ones. The protein, called urocortin-3, can now be used as a marker of mature insulin producing cells and will help scientists identify mature beta cells more easily when testing out new  ways to make them from stem cells. 

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF said ‘Stem cells provide exciting possibilities for studying type 1 diabetes and potentially treating the condition in the future. Professor Melton’s study helps us understand more about how beta cells develop and crucially, also provides a way to efficiently test if new techniques for making mature beta cells from stem cells are working effectively’.


Behind the headlines: regional variations in lower limb amputation

Some news outlets have today carried news about regional variations in foot amputations for people with diabetes.

This story is based on the publication of a research article in the journal Diabetologia, which provides detailed examination of the incidence of amputations in hospital records for all Primary Care Trusts in England. This builds on information published in the UK Atlas of Variation in Health Care in 2010, which drew attention to this regional variation.

The analysis conducted in this study has shown that the PCTs where there is a high incidence of foot amputation in people with diabetes also have a high incidence of foot amputation in people who do not have diabetes.

The authors suggest that some of the variation in these figures for amputation may be attributable to variations in the way foot care for people with diabetes is organised in different PCTs. The study’s authors highlight a number of initiatives which emphasise the need for multidisciplinary teams skilled in footcare, such as existing NICE guidelines and the Putting Feet First report published by NHS Diabetes and Diabetes UK.

Aside from specific variations in the organisation of foot care services, the authors also draw attention to the importance of effective diabetes management in preventing amputations in the first place.

Rachel Connor Head of Research Communication at JDRF commented ‘Whatever the reasons behind these regional variations, any amputation as a result of living with type 1 is one too many. That’s why we’re committed to researching new ways of treating and preventing the nerve damage that leads to problems in foot health.’

In 2011 JDRF funded £12.7 million worth of global research to treat and prevent the complications of type 1 diabetes. Find out how you can get involved


Type 1 Parliament in the news

With JDRF’s flagship lobbying event Type 1 Parliament quickly approaching, we’re delighted to see many of you have been working hard to get type 1 mentioned in the media. Congratulations and thank you to all of you who have contacted the media and achieved coverage so far.

Alex Newman received excellent coverage, pictured alongside his MP Tony Baldry, in the Banbury Guardian:

Emma Bailey was featured in The News in Portsmouth:

Kaye Sparrow gained coverage in the Wigan Evening Post:

While Lily Devereux appeared on page 8 in South East London magazine, The Transmitter:

As well as the online coverage, there have been some great print pieces in newspapers. Oliver Lack received brilliant coverage in the Richmond and Twickenham Times, with Oliver pictured alongside his MP Zac Goldsmith; Gracie Spandler featured in the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer; Emily appeared with her Mum, Laura and sister, Katie in the Salisbury Journal; Danielle Sellers gained coverage in the Yorkshire Evening Post; brother and sister Jack and Chloe Gillum featured in the Shropshire Star; Danielle Sellers appeared alongside her children Elizabeth and James in the Wetherby Boston Spa & Tadcaster News; while George Dove gained coverage in the Mansfield Chad, in addition to many more of you.

Thank you to all of you for your fantastic work in attracting media attention and in raising awareness of type 1 diabetes and our lobbying day. If you have not already been successful at contacting your local media, then please do spread the word by telling your local newspaper, radio or television station about the day.

Even if you’re not coming along to Type 1 Parliament, you can still get involved. This event offers an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness of type 1 and the need for greater investment in research. This is a great chance to contact your local media and share your experiences of living with type 1 diabetes.

If you need any help or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the communications team on 0207 713 2030/ Good luck!