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Our researchers are working on different ways to develop a cure for type 1 diabetes - from growing insulin-producing beta cells in labs to hacking the immune system.
Learn about the technologies that can deliver insulin automatically when needed. And discover the next generation of insulins that are currently being developed.
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The announcement is the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin.
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Home > About JDRF & our impact > Our research > Treatment research
Technologies to treat type 1 diabetes have already come a long way. We now have pumps that can deliver insulin automatically, and sensors that can give real-time measurements of blood glucose levels.
Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors reduce some of the mental burden of living with type 1 but still require input from the wearer. Now, new hybrid closed loop technology, which JDRF supporters have helped fund, has been developed to reduce this burden even further.
Hybrid closed loop systems link a continuous glucose monitor with an insulin pump via a smartphone app. The sophisticated system allows the insulin pump to automatically deliver the right dose of insulin at the right time based on readings from the glucose sensor.
Find out more about our hybrid closed loop technology research.
Type 1 diabetes can lead to long term damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart, which we refer to as the complications of type 1. These complications are often associated with unstable blood glucose levels, so it’s important to try and keep your blood glucose levels in range as best you can.
Our complications research aims to help people with type 1 and their healthcare professionals detect complications as soon as they start to develop. Once identified, we want complications to be treated quickly and efficiently with treatments developed specifically to work for people with diabetes.
The ultimate goal for complications research is to find out who is at most risk of developing certain complications and protect these people from ever getting complications from their type 1.
Find out more about our complications research.
The types of insulin people with type 1 use are much slower than the insulin their bodies used to be able to make. Researchers are developing insulins which can work faster and faster. We need faster-acting insulins so that people with type 1 don’t have to inject food a long time before they eat.
A fully closed loop artificial pancreas system would need little or no input at all from the person using it. Without ultra-rapid insulins, we can’t make fully closed loops because the insulin inside the insulin pumps doesn’t work fast enough. This means the wearer must currently warn their technology that they are about to eat or exercise, to give their insulin pump enough time to adjust.
Another group of novel insulins are known as ‘smart’ insulins because they can respond to varying levels of glucose in the blood. This research is at an earlier stage than fast-acting insulins, but the idea is that the smart insulin remains in the body and only works in response to rising glucose levels. By responding automatically to the amount of glucose in the blood of someone with type 1, a smart insulin would mimic the function of insulin- releasing beta cells.
Learn more about novel insulins and our research into them.
The research, which was co-funded by JDRF, reveals that drugs that target the immune system offer very effective and rapid improvements in stabilising blood sugar levels, often within just three months.
The new JDRF-funded clinical trial called SOPHIST will test a drug to help people with type 1 diabetes and heart failure.
Thanks to JDRF supporters, we’ve been able to award a £1.3 million grant to King’s College London (KCL) and Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen to examine how existing drugs, known as SGLT inhibitors, could delay the progression of kidney disease in people living with type 1 diabetes.
Read about the exciting research taking place right now.
Learn how researchers are trying to cure type 1.
Learn how researchers are trying to prevent type 1.
It’s thanks to your dedication that we have funded great progress in type 1 cure, treatment and prevention research. Help us to continue our vital research.