The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, two of the largest non-government funders of type 1 diabetes programs, announced that they have formalized a collaboration that will foster a new level of cooperation between the organizations. The goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the pace of research and development to deliver better treatments, devices, and diagnostics for improving the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.
The first project to be supported by the new JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration is the type 1 diabetes Clinical Development Research Roadmap. This program will generate a comprehensive and objective strategic plan to serve as a framework for funding decisions of clinical research involving patients with established type 1 diabetes. The plan will be based on a comprehensive synthesis of knowledge regarding the current type 1 diabetes clinical development landscape. The goal is to identify novel perspectives, using the available data that suggest new approaches toward achieving clinically meaningful impact in established type 1 diabetes with known therapeutics. It will include strategies to effectively characterize the various stages of this disease and a review of clinical development therapy opportunities, particularly when looking at subsets of patients with type 1 diabetes. The resulting plan will be shared with the type 1 diabetes research and development community to serve as a common resource.
The second initiative to be supported by the collaboration is the Bioimaging Project, which is intended to develop new diagnostic technologies to non-invasively determine the presence and functional activity of insulin-producing beta cells in a person’s pancreas. Known as beta cell imaging, these technologies aim to overcome one of the key challenges in the type 1 diabetes field: directly assessing the cells within the pancreas that are responsible for normal insulin production. These new technologies will be an invaluable resource in multiple areas of type 1 diabetes research, including early detection of diabetes; monitoring of transplanted or regenerated beta cells; monitoring certain new therapies during clinical trials; and following the progression of type 1 diabetes in a person over time.
In addition, the JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration has launched a request for proposals to develop and deliver more accurate and reliable sensors that would measure a person’s blood glucose (sugar) levels on a continuous basis. Building upon the successes of current continuous glucose monitoring technologies, this initiative seeks to advance these sensors to the next generation that would provide users with more accurate and reliable blood glucose measurements. Improved blood glucose sensors will enable type 1 diabetes patients to make better insulin dosing decisions.