I’ve been devoting a bigger part of my brain to thinking about how to talk about our research strategy in the light of the recent headlines about ‘a cure for diabetes’; and particularly what to say about smart insulin, our focus for World Diabetes Day. How do we talk about a potential new treatment when the press has been reporting that a cure is imminent?
As Rachel Connor said in her blog, the promise offered by our new ability to create a large supply of mature beta cells – thanks to Dr Doug Melton’s research that we funded – is immense.
But this is only one part of the puzzle. We also need to stop the immune system from killing new transplanted beta cells through either their encapsulation or retraining the immune system. Both of these are medium to long term goals for JDRF. We are still far from the ‘imminent’ delivery of beta cell restoration that was floated by some UK media.
In the meantime life with type 1 diabetes goes on. This is why smart insulin excites me and, more importantly, our research team. Imagine type 1 managed with just one injection, once a day. Dr Aaron Kowalski from JDRF’s research team talks about what it means to him here.
Our international research programme is focused on delivering new and better treatments for type 1 along the road to the cure: literally improving lives, curing type 1 diabetes.
This means that we will continue to invest in taking Dr Melton’s stem cell research to the next stage and in finding ways to protect beta cells from the immune system’s attack, so that one day, when we’re asked if it’s the cure, we can give a resounding, unqualified, yes.
It also means that we’ll ask you to help us support scientists working to find ways to make life with type 1 significantly easier in the meantime, like those working on smart insulins and in other areas of JDRF’s treatment research.
Smart Insulin: one injection, once a day. To me that’s worth one day as a #TypeOnesie this World Diabetes Day. Even if I will look a right wally.