About JDRF's Research

At JDRF we evaluate the global landscape and support research programs from learning, to lab, to life-changing. We target all aspects of Type 1 Diabetes to improve daily life as we work for a cure. 

Our Research Portfolio is divided into three areas: CURE, TREAT and PREVENT. 

We support therapies through each stage of the research pipeline and work to ensure these treatments reach those who need them as quickly as possible.

Cure.

Curing T1D means restoring the body’s ability to regulate glucose and finding a way for insulin producing beta cells to live in the body. There are two ways to do this: the REGENERATION of beta cells or the REPLACEMENT of beta cells. Regeneration means finding a way to ‘wake up’ any remaining beta cells still in the body and restoring their function.  Replacement means adding new insulin producing cells into the body.

What we know:

  • three different ways to help regenerate insulin-producing cells that are lost in T1D;
  • how to interrupt the body’s immune response to implanted medical devices.
  • 62 islet transplants have occurred in Australia. 18 people are insulin independent;
  • globally, we have cured T1D in mice 718 times;
  • Researchers can grow insulin producing cells in a lab

The challenges:

  • the body still attacks new beta cells;
  • currently all transplants need human donors;
  • the cells we create in the lab are not as efficient or productive as the naturally occurring cells;
  • translating findings in mice trials into human clinical trials. 

We're working on:

  • removing the need for immunosuppressive drugs;
  • transforming other cells in the body into insulin producing cells;
  • an endless supply of insulin producing cells, from stem cells or cells in the pancreas.;
  • encapsulation techniques to protect islets from being attacked by the body;
  • increasing our number of human clinical trials.
Hear from Australian Researchers working on a cure
Professor Peter Thorn
Dr Harald Janovjak

Treat.

We need  to reduce the personal, medical, psychological and financial burden of life with T1D. We now know that complications from T1D can be reduced by up to 76% with tight blood glucose control. We know automating blood glucose control would change the lives of people living with T1D.

We're working on:
  • Closed loop systems: an insulin pump, CGM and a complex calculation matching insulin dosing to blood glucose levels;
  • Glucose responsive insulin (GRI): insulin that adjusts to changes in blood glucose levels inside the body; 
  • increasing access to T1D technology; 
  • improving food and exercise guidelines and education.
  • predictive markers and therapies for complications

Prevent.

We need to understand the cause and early development of T1D. We know the disease develops in stages, beginning before symptoms appear. We know the rates of T1D cannot be explained by genetics alone, which means the environment must have a role. 

We're working on:
  • understanding Predictive Markers for T1D;
  • ways to halt the progress of T1D; 
  • a vaccine for T1D through a global project; 
  • investigating environmental factors in T1D development;
  • machine learning analysing global T1D data with IBM.

The Research Pipeline

01.

Discovery

Scientists conduct laboratory studies to form a basis of knowledge around a potential therapy.

02.

Pre-Clinical

Initial findings are translated into potential treatments, which are vetted in the lab prior to testing in humans.

03.

Clinical

Trials are conducted with human subjects to test effectiveness and side effects of potential therapies.

04.

Post-Approval

Once therapies are approved by regulators, we leverage our industry partnerships to move them to market

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The T1D CRN has transformed the scientific landscape in Australia

Clinical research is the critical final step in making new technologies and treatments a reality for Australians living with T1D. The Australian T1D Clinical Research Network (T1DCRN) accelerates this process and encourages collaboration and shared learning on an unprecedented scale.

In 2010 the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing awarded $5M in funding to JDRF to establish the T1DCRN, with $35M allocated in 2014 through a Special Research Initiative of the Australian Research Council. The T1DCRN connects 1500 Australians to the latest treatments and technologies, 250+ researchers to each other, allowing 70+ institutions to share insights through 15 high impact studies. The T1DCRN is focused on increasing the volume of clinical research, providing foundations for a clinical legacy and minimising overlap.In addition, the program nurtures emerging research leaders through funding and mentoring helping to secure the future of Australian T1D research. 

Research Agenda

The Australian Type 1 Diabetes Research Agenda was developed in partnership with researchers, clinicians, funders, and patient representatives across Australia. The Agenda facilitates a shared vision for Type 1 Diabetes research in Australia by providing a view of the landscape. 

Resource Map

The Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Resource Map provides a comprehensive overview of research resources for Australian researchers in the field of Type 1 Diabetes. The Resource Map has identified five key areas in the research development pipeline.

Impact Analysis

The Type 1 Diabetes Global Research Impact Analysis is a systematic assessment of the volume and impact of publications relevant to Type 1 Diabetes. Globally over 22,000 articles were published during the five years of the review (2008 – 2012). 

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