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JDRF is undergoing a transformation.
We are becoming Breakthrough T1D in October.

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Expert opinion

What’s in a name?

Our CEO, Karen Addington, talks through the history and evolution of our new brand, Breakthrough T1D.
Content last reviewed and updated: 04.06.2024

Karen Addington

As many of you will have heard by now, JDRF is changing its name to Breakthrough T1D and I am thrilled to be able to tell you more about this change and how we developed our new name.

We have chosen Breakthrough T1D after speaking to people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) all around the globe. I am pleased with the name that we have arrived at. It provides clarity about what we do – we drive research breakthroughs, personal breakthroughs and breakthroughs in global access to treatment.

Using T1D in our name also allows us to be clear about who we are here for. Our charity is uniquely dedicated to type 1 diabetes and the people who live with it. T1D is unlike any other condition and our name should reflect our sole focus on this autoimmune condition, reducing any confusion between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Today is a monumental day in our history, with a new name that truly expresses our impact, our ambition and our steadfast support of the entire T1D community. For me personally, telling you about our name change feels like a celebration of the incredible achievements of JDRF and a strong statement about our intention to work with all of you to accelerate that work in the future

A little bit of history

JDRF has been leading the search for type 1 diabetes cures since the 1970s. A group of parents in the US whose children had type 1 diabetes set up the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, now known as JDRF. At the time, type 1 diabetes was often referred to as ‘Juvenile’. The condition was associated with young people and childhood diagnosis.

The charity evolves

We now know that type 1 can be diagnosed at any point in life. We also know that over 85% of people living with type 1 in the UK are adults.

As the world’s largest organisation focusing exclusively on type 1 diabetes, we are here to make life better for everyone with T1D while we search for cures. Whether that’s developing innovative treatments like hybrid closed loop systems or providing information about how to live well with the condition.

Our ability to do this depends on people being able to find us, know who we are and understand what we do. Whether you or a loved one lives with T1D, you are a researcher or work in healthcare, knowing who we are and how we can help you is essential.

If we are going to help more people, more people need to know who we are and that we are focused on finding cures for T1D.

And we know our name hasn’t always been helpful for people, especially adults, trying to find information about type 1 diabetes. So many of you have told us that you didn’t look to JDRF for information because you thought we were just for children.

Our name has changed, our mission has not

While our name may have changed, the determination to find cures and better treatments remains the same.

Our commitment to funding research has made innovations like hybrid closed loop systems a reality for a growing number of people with T1D. Our funding of immunotherapies such as teplizumab holds the potential to offer years without insulin dependence. Thanks to JDRF’s ambitious global research programme, we’re on the brink of delivering the next generation of life-changing breakthroughs. Breakthrough T1D will continue this journey.

Building on our past

We will be forever grateful to the visionary founders Lee Ducat, Carol Lurie, and Erwin Lurie, who started this amazing medical research charity. JDRF now operates in the US, The UK, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Israel and India but of course we fund T1D research in 21 countries around the world. We have been leaders in every major T1D breakthrough for the past 50 years, investing $1 billion in research in the last five years alone.

Throughout JDRF’s history, we have connected people with T1D with researchers and healthcare professionals, ensuring the most desirable cures and treatments for type 1 are developed.

We are living in a golden age of medical breakthroughs and with your support we are now going to move further, faster. We are building an international community of people with type 1, helping everyone to achieve their own personal breakthroughs.

We also continue to benefit from the Lurie family’s support as Carol and Erwin’s son Jim has continued his parents’ commitment to curing T1D and now serves on our UK Board of Directors.

Our approach

Being a global organisation is one of the ways that we can accelerate and champion the best research and treatments. It also means that we have been able to gather thoughts and opinions about our new name with the T1D community globally.

We understand a new name must work and resonate with us all. This is why we have been speaking to people with T1D, researchers and colleagues around the world to ensure our new name reflects our pioneering focus and approach to deliver type 1 diabetes cures.

Looking to the future

I hope you are as pleased as I am with the new name. It will take a little getting used to for all of us. We won’t be making this change overnight here in the UK. We will replace our leaflets, event equipment and signage as we run out of stock. Our website and social channels will change in the autumn.

Thank you for supporting JDRF to help us create a world without T1D. Let’s all get together behind Breakthrough T1D and build on the work started by those visionary families over half a century ago.

Read more about our rebrand

Read more
Breakthrough T1D, formally JDRF

JDRF UK to become Breakthrough T1D

JDRF International (JDRF) unveils its new brand and name, Breakthrough T1D.

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