JDRF Walk to Cure Kickoff – From 1 to None
SEP is a sponsor of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – JDRF. Several of us attended the JDRF Walk to Cure Kickoff lunch today. In addition to some very moving speakers discussing their experiences with Type 1 diabetes and their plans for the upcoming walk, we heard from endocrinologist Dr. James Malone of Eli Lilly and Company on some of the research being funded by the JDRF.
Dr. Malone discussed six aspects of research:
- An artificial pancreas – a system which will react to rising blood-glucose levels by combining monitoring technology with insulin pumps to provide the right amount of insulin at the right time.
- Glucose control, featuring a ‘smart’ insulin, which would avoid hypoglycemia, and which would kick in only when blood sugar rises.
- Encapsulation – Beta cells, which make insulin, have not been successfully implanted within the body to date. Encapsulation of foreign beta cells with an appropriately permeable membrane is being investigated as a way to replace damaged or destroyed beta cells in a body without triggering rejection.
- Prevention – There are both inherited and environmental components to Type 1 diabetes; this research looks at ways to change the environmental factors.
- Complications – Type 1 diabetes carries complications to eye, kidney and nerve systems. Research aims to prevent damage to the microvascular systems of these organs via glucose control.
- Restoration, or how to restore function to beta cells – Looking at DNA, every cell has the capacity to make insulin, but in every cell type except beta cells, this ability is turned off. One line of research is trying to understand how to turn on, say, liver cells’ insulin production.
I really appreciated the opportunity to hear more on this interesting research and the many wonderful efforts being made for a cure. I look forward to supporting our SEP team at this year’s Indy JDRF Walk to Cure, on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.