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JDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™

One of the world’s leading T1D organizations is doing some serious rebranding by changing its look and name. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), previously known as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, is now—Breakthrough T1D.

JDRF is Now Breakthrough T1D™

About Breakthrough T1D (Formerly JDRF)

Since the early 1970s, JDRF has been the prominent nonprofit synonymous with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The private philanthropic funds research promotes advocacy and provides services to people with T1D around the globe.

Through its many technological advancements and research accomplishments, the private sector funder has enabled research toward improved treatment options for the 1.25 million Americans living with T1D.

With over 75 clinical trials and over $300 million driving T1D research breakthroughs, people with T1D are now living healthier, longer lives.

Interesting Fact: A condition that was once diagnosed as Juvenile Diabetes (the “JD” in JDRF) is now medically known as type 1 diabetes (T1D) and impacts all ages and stages of life.  

Why the New Image?

Breakthrough T1D was announced in early June 2024. However, the organization’s mission remains aligned with its name change and new look.

Breakthrough T1D CEO Aaron Kowalski said, “Our name and look have changed, but our mission has not! We are executing an ambitious plan to drive cures, and our job won’t be done until everyone can take their diabetes devices off for good.”

This is encouraging news to the 8.4 million people worldwide living with type 1 diabetes.

A recent press release stated, “As an organization grounded in science and community, we knew we needed to take a scientific and community-centric approach to evolving our brand.”

Breakthrough T1D’s branding transformation resulted from over two years of research, data and careful consideration from the type 1 community. The group listened to the feedback surveyed from thousands of T1D individuals, T1D caregivers, researchers and industry leaders.

The organization also said, “We hope this ushers in a new era of focusing on a functional cure—the ultimate ‘breakthrough’ and a clear prioritization of related research pathways.”

A Practical Cure

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance (JDCA), a practical cure for T1D allows people with the disease to live a normal, unrestricted life. The closest the T1D community has come to a practical cure is the artificial pancreas or closed-loop system.

The artificial pancreas is a medical device that manages blood glucose levels. It consists of three parts and mimics a human’s real pancreas by delivering insulin as needed.

  1. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A small sensor that tracks blood sugar levels every few minutes and sends the data to a program.
  2. A program that calculates how much insulin is needed and signals the insulin pump to deliver.
  3. Insulin pump. This infusion device delivers insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the best time-in-range. The pump adjusts insulin delivery every 10 minutes while the user is sleeping.

PIC of artificial pancreas /girl wearing or stomach from T! R article

We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’ll be a cure in five years,” and when the five years pass and there’s still no cure, it’s hard not to become disheartened. However, diabetes treatment and management are evolving steadily, and there is much to be excited about on the horizon.

Top T1D Breakthroughs

At the recent Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) meeting in Florence, Italy, Breakthrough T1D gathered with other leading researchers and featured its top studies.

Cell Therapies in T1D

Cell therapies are one of Breakthrough T1D's leading priorities. An important goal is to implant functioning insulin-producing cells into individuals with T1D without the need for immunosuppressant drugs. 

Also, researchers are developing more targeted drugs to inhibit immune responses toward transplanted islets to elude the harmful side effects.

Some innovative cell therapies now in clinical trials include:

Islet Cell Transplantation (Islet Replacement Therapy)

Lantidra

Islets are clusters of beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone needed to regulate blood sugar. In one type of islet replacement therapy treatment, doctors take healthy islets from an organ donor and inject them into an individual with T1D, rendering the individual insulin-independent with the aid of immunosuppressive drugs. In some cases, patients have reduced or completely stopped insulin injections.

In June 2023, the FDA approved Lantidra, the first allogenic (deceased donor) islet cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. CellTrans’s Lantidra cell therapy is currently used in adults suffering from severe hypoglycemic episodes.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Another promising Breakthrough T1D partnership is with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Vertex is developing stem cell-based therapies for diabetes. The cells used in Vertex Pharmaceuticals VX-880 are grown in a laboratory, where they can morph into islet cells.

Its islet replacement therapy for T1D is used in human clinical trials and has shown remarkable results.

Encapsulation of Islet Cells

Vertex is also involved in a trial using encapsulated stem cell-derived islets as replacement therapy and exploring gene-edited stem cell-based therapies to eliminate the need for immunosuppressive drugs.

The idea behind islet cell encapsulation is to protect the threatened cells, therefore eliminating the immunosuppressive drugs that sometimes have adverse side effects. This strategy allows nutrients, oxygen and secreted hormones to enter a capsule while blocking immune cells from entering.

Disease Modifying Therapies

Disease Modifying Therapies (DMT) are one of the top success stories of Breakthrough T1D research. This type of therapy alters the course of the disease by either slowing the progression or reversing it entirely.

Teplizumab (Tzield™)

The immunotherapy drug Tzield, approved by the FDA in 2022, can delay the onset of T1D in at-risk individuals aged eight years and older. Since this drug can slow down the progression and halt the disease in its tracks (temporarily), it’s optimistic that similar drugs can reverse and permanently stop the progression altogether.

Verapamil

In a JDRF-funded study, researchers discovered that Verapamil, a drug approved to treat high blood pressure, could, in some cases, assist diagnosed T1D teens and children to produce more insulin, thereby stabilizing the insulin-producing beta cells.

Two main goals are to stop the immune system from attacking the healthy beta cells, spur beta growth safely, and protect beta cells from attack so that T1Ds don’t need external insulin.

“Type 1 diabetes does not happen all at once—it’s a progression,” said Esther Latres, Ph.D., Breakthrough T1D vice president of research. “For some, the autoimmune process has begun, but they are asymptomatic. Others have had T1D for decades and make virtually no insulin. Breakthrough T1D is focused on DMTs that can help everyone with T1D, no matter where they are on the disease continuum.”

A Bold New Vision of When

T1DStrong welcomes this new initiative and the vigor it brings. With T1D on the rise and cases increasing among young adults, now is the best time to press for a real cure.  

A truly functional cure, medicines to prevent type 1 diabetes, is the prayer of many. Breakthrough T1D’s vision is aligned with a new environment of collaboration between dozens of organizations—private, public, and government-funded—all working together, sharing ideas with the same goal in mind.

How You Can Get Involved

To elevate Breakthrough T1Ds mifdssion requires a strategy of many hands working together, educating, fundraising and volunteering. 

There’s no better time to join the Breakthrough T1D community.

  • Join a local chapter.
  • Participate in a fundraising walk.
  • Join the advocacy movement.
  • Discover local events and support groups.

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