Today, after an 18-month long campaign by JDRF and its supporters across the country, Congress approved legislation for a two-year extension of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), providing $300 million for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research through the National Institutes of Health.
“Thanks to this important legislative action, groundbreaking research will improve lives and bring us closer to a world without T1D,” said Derek K. Rapp, President and CEO of JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research.
The federal research funding provided by the SDP, combined with JDRF’s private investment, has paved the way for one of the most productive eras for T1D research, leading to new therapies, innovation on next-generation technology and progress toward a cure. SDP-funded research has produced scientific breakthroughs including treatments to improve vision in people with diabetic eye disease and artificial pancreas technology that automates blood glucose management.
With this renewal, which was part of the legislation to provide continuing appropriations (HR 1892), SDP-funded researchers around the country will be able to continue large-scale clinical trials without interruption, and new research can be launched. This legislation also includes an important budget framework that will bolster overall National Institutes of Health appropriations in the years to come, which will benefit research in T1D and other diseases.
This latest extension of the SDP, which will run through September 30, 2019, was a primary focus of advocacy efforts by JDRF throughout all of last year, and became even more urgent after funding expired on October 1, 2017. Over an 18-month period, families affected by T1D from all across the nation contacted their members of Congress, urging them to renew the SDP, and shared their stories in the media. During the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress, more than 160 children with T1D and their families converged on Washington, D.C., to meet with their members of Congress and to testify at a Senate hearing about the need for renewed funding. This effort continued into 2018, after Congress enacted $37.5 million in funds in a stopgap spending bill in December. Today’s action provides the additional funding to complete the full, $300 million, two-year renewal.
“I want to thank the many members of Congress who supported the Special Diabetes Program renewal, including the leadership on both sides of the aisle and our champions in the Senate Diabetes Caucus and Congressional Diabetes Caucus,” said Rapp. “The JDRF community is tremendously appreciative of all you do to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.”
Since its inception, the SDP has enjoyed bipartisan Congressional support to advance new therapies that relieve both the daily burden for people with diabetes as well as the economic toll on the U.S. healthcare system. JDRF is relieved that the renewed funding allows researchers to build on past successes and continue promising trials that may lead to better treatments, prevention and a cure for T1D.