$100M Campaign to Accelerate

They’re not always hiding under your bed or lurking in the closet. Some monsters grab a hold of you, and never let go. This monster is known as type 1 diabetes (T1D), and it always will be there until we find a cure.

That is why JDRF, the largest charitable funder of T1D research, has been working tirelessly on an innovative plan that aims to transform our approach to T1D research, redesigning it for speed and maximizing our impact. It will move us beyond insulin and accelerate towards cures, and it begins with the launch of our bold fundraising initiative – the $100M Campaign to Accelerate.

The discovery of insulin 100 years ago helped to tame the T1D monster, but now is the time to defeat it, once and for all.

Access For All

Public funding for type 1 diabetes (T1D) treatment and devices differs province by province, is often age-based and can be limited to specific technologies or manufacturers.  The cost of managing T1D for Canadians without coverage is estimated at up to $15,000 annually ¹. These out-of-pocket costs can be debilitating — 57% of Canadians cannot fully comply with their treatment plans due to cost ².

JDRF Canada created Access for All to make lifesaving technology affordable and accessible for all Canadians living with T1D. We do this by directly advocating governments, insurers and other stakeholders to increase public and private coverage of insulin pumps and advanced glucose monitors for the T1D community.

Flash Glucose Monitors (Flash GM) and Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) both consist of small sensors worn on the body that relay blood glucose levels to corresponding devices and warn of any dangerous highs and lows. Insulin pumps are small devices worn on the body that deliver fast-acting insulin 24 hours a day. These devices greatly alleviate the burden of disease management, leading to better health outcomes, lowering the risk of diabetes-related complications and allowing for better virtual care.

Despite the benefits of these devices, the usage rate among Canadians remains incredibly low. This is directly tied to limitations in access, education and affordability. Inequities exist when individuals lack private insurance, provincial plans impose strict requirements on who will be covered, or by healthcare access barriers for those in remote communities.

JDRF established Access for All to help mitigate these costs and improve the lives of the T1D Community through four key program areas:

Advocacy: We are driving change by developing and nurturing key relationships with policymakers.

Education: We are creating resources for individuals living with T1D and healthcare providers that address how to self-advocate and how to best use technology to optimize disease management.

Research: Through research surveys to the T1D community and the health sector, we can identify and address gaps in care through educational outreach.

Virtual Care: We are leveraging partnerships with other organizations to improve access for everyone living with T1D – especially those in remote communities.

Our overarching goal is to expand access and ensure patient choice. Combined efforts in advocacy, education, research, and virtual care aim to provide universal access to diabetes technology to all Canadians with T1D, regardless of age or location.

We need funding to mobilize our communities and remove inequities. Supporting this mission will reduce financial and physical burdens and help ease the strain on the health care system caused by T1D complications.

JDRF Centre of Excellence at UBC:

In November, 2021JDRF launched our Centres of Excellence, a research collaboration that leverages existing facilities and multidisciplinary talent to ensure the most cost-effective, accelerated path to treatments and cures.

The JDRF Centre of Excellence at the University of British Columbia (UBC) harnesses the expertise of partners, and more than 40 researchers, staff and students at UBC’s Life Sciences Institute, Vancouver General Hospital and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dedicated to cure research, the team will pivot in real-time to prioritize projects that have the greatest potential.

A team of lead investigators, internationally renowned in their respective fields, are guiding the Centre’s research through three integrated and interdependent themes:

Theme 1: Providing a new source of insulin-producing beta cells
Dr. Francis Lynn and Dr. Timothy Kieffer will lead research towards the development of a new, cost-effective cellular therapy that will provide long-lasting insulin independence.

Theme 2: Protecting beta cells from immune attack
Dr. Megan Levings and Dr. Bruce Verchere’s teams will develop innovative approaches to protect replaced and remaining insulin-producing cells in people with T1D.

Theme 3: Targeting and monitoring beta cell stress
Dr. James Johnson and Dr. Bruce Verchere are investigating how to switch off the beta cell stress response that contributes to T1D to prevent and stop disease progression.

Each theme encompasses several projects, driven efficiently by cross-cutting core expertise and facilities. The research plan is designed for synergy and speed: advances in one theme will propel progress in the others. The Centre’s leads will advance the most promising projects to validation and pre-clinical testing. A minimum of two therapeutic candidates to cure T1D will advance to human clinical trials within five years and may also apply to other autoimmune diseases.

The JDRF Centre of Excellence at UBC is the first initiative of its kind in Canada. It provides a unique opportunity for JDRF donors to directly contribute to the most promising and exciting cure-based research.

Global Research Strategy

Donating to global research means funding the studies and projects that are delivering results and accelerating the path towards cures.

JDRF’s Global Research portfolio addresses the greatest global needs in T1D research today through JDRF Canada and our five affiliates worldwide. This includes over 60 clinical trials, more than 375 research projects, and dozens of postdoctoral fellowships and career development awards.

All Canadian projects and researchers supported through this portfolio are world leaders in T1D research, ensuring Canada maintains its global prominence in T1D research.

Our Global Research strategy is divided into five vital project areas of support:

Screening: T1D begins to develop months or even years before diagnosis. Certain blood biomarkers can predict who is at risk. Multiple JDRF-funded efforts are now underway to pilot screening of T1D risk in the general population.

Disease-Modifying Therapies are those that prevent, slow, or reverse the course of T1D at any age or stage of the disease. JDRF-funded researchers are performing clinical trials for drugs that could delay the onset of the disease in those at risk by up to three years, and others that slow the progression of T1D in people with a recent diagnosis.

Cell Replacement: A critical part of curing T1D is ensuring that people can produce insulin independently again. This can be accomplished by replacing damaged pancreatic beta cells (those that normally produce insulin) with transplanted cells to restore insulin production. Most beta cell replacements require immunosuppression drugs similar to other tissue or organ transplants. JDRF currently funds several projects that are studying breakthrough beta cell replacement therapies without the need for chronic immunosuppression.

Treatment: This research is accelerating the development of minimally invasive drugs, diabetes devices and tech, behavioural health interventions, and novel combinations of these to improve health outcomes and quality of life for people living with T1D today.

Training: Training awards are a core part of JDRF’s research strategy, as they allow us to support junior scientists already working in T1D research through postdoctoral fellowships and career development awards. These funds support the next generation of leaders in T1D research.

Translating scientific discoveries into practice is successful when the right people are brought together to collaboratively uncover new treatment options, and ultimately cures. An investment in our Global Research Strategy is an investment in novel ideas and outside-the-box thinkers dedicated to advancing T1D research.

JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes

Our dedicated partners enable us to extend our reach and maximize opportunities to fund the best in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Canada – where the insulin hormone was discovered over 100 years ago, and home to many breakthroughs in stem cell research.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the health research arm of the federal government, is a key partner in JDRF’s mission to improve lives by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D.

In 2017, the JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes was launched to fund innovative clinical trials and research projects that can help to advance improved care, early treatment, and research into cures for people living with T1D.

Through the Campaign to Accelerate, CIHR committed $25 million towards our mission. This campaign pillar is raising funds to be matched by donors for a total investment of $50 million. The CIHR’s renewed investment builds on Canada’s long history of leadership in diabetes research.

The JDRF-CIHR Partnership is currently supporting 11 multidisciplinary research teams across Canada. Projects are selected based on their potential clinical impact on T1D and are subject to a rigorous review and selection process.

Donors double CIHR’s contributions and help support world-leading research that includes:

  • patient-oriented clinical trials to lower the risk of hypoglycemia,
  • approaches to reverse the autoimmune response in T1D,
  • studying how changes in the gut microbiome could increase or decrease risk of T1D,
  • beta cell replacement via stem cell-based approaches without the need for immunosuppression,
  • treatments that improve blood glucose management and reduce the burden of care,
  • improving the quality and consistency of pediatric diabetes care across Canada,
  • better our understanding of variations in human insulin production
  • and other projects that translate lab science into better clinical outcomes for people living with T1D.

Both JDRF and CIHR have a long track record of funding research leading to breakthroughs and better health outcomes for Canadians. Now is the time to accelerate action on our shared vision to end diabetes and eliminate the devastating impacts of T1D on more than 300,000 Canadians and millions worldwide.

The JDRF-CIHR Partnership to End Diabetes supports the most promising Canadian research aimed at reducing both the health and economic burden of diabetes. Donors are driving this partnership every step of the way.

Mental Health and Type 1 Diabetes

Mental health challenges represent one of the most pervasive health issues affecting Canadians today.

Living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a careful balancing act 24/7. Even with diligent diabetes management, swings in blood sugar can be frequent and the threat of complications is a daily reality. As a result, diabetes affects a person’s emotional, social, and behavioural wellbeing, known as psychosocial health, throughout their lifetime, and has been shown to increase the likelihood of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Living with a chronic disease, combined with social stigma, can put a tremendous strain on people’s lives.

Compounding this burden, people with T1D have minimal access to resources to help with their unique mental health concerns. The primary focus of diabetes care teams is to manage physical symptoms and most mental health providers have limited knowledge of the specific mental health impacts of T1D.

JDRF has launched a mental health strategy that with the help of donors, can help to address the gaps in mental health care in Canada for people with T1D. These systemic changes will ensure mental health care becomes a part of holistic diabetes care.

Our Mental Health Strategy will tackle insufficient mental health research in diabetes, few mental health providers with diabetes expertise, a lack of referral pathways for people with T1D to access those providers, and the overall gap in mental health care for people with T1D and type 2 diabetes.

Our plan includes:

A Virtual Diabetes Training Program: We are working with our partners to train more than 1,000 registered Canadian mental health providers to offer enhanced support and referrals to their clients who live with diabetes.

Mental Health Education and Outreach: We will educate health professionals including GPs, endocrinologists and nurses about the importance of psychosocial concerns in people with T1D, and drive referrals to newly trained mental health care providers.

Support and Resources for People with T1D: We will expand our existing programs at JDRF and partner with other organizations to develop multilingual resources and connection events focused on mental health to support our T1D community.

Research and Test Psychosocial Interventions: We will fund clinical studies designed to test the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions to improve quality of life and diabetes outcomes.

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Clinical Psychologists: We will fund clinical psychology fellows to specialize in T1D and mental health care.

With the help of donors and our partners, JDRF is well-positioned to take the lead on addressing this critical need for the T1D community.

T1D Fund

The T1D Fund, operated under JDRF International, is the largest single-disease-focused venture philanthropy fund in the world fueling research for a cure and much-needed therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Venture philanthropy takes concepts from venture capitalism and applies them to achieving philanthropic goals. Donors provide seed funding that is multiplied by their co-investors, ensuring donor dollars are maximized towards the cause.

JDRF created the T1D Fund to fill a significant gap that previously existed between scientific advancements in T1D research and commercial products becoming available to those who need them. The T1D Fund leverages philanthropic capital to build a portfolio of investments that are both attractive to financially motivated investors and compelling to the T1D community.

Donor investments support profitable pharmaceutical and biotech startups developing treatments and cure therapies for T1D. With each investment, the T1D Fund attracts alongside private venture capital (VC). Because of JDRF’s deep expertise in T1D research, T1D Fund investments are a de-risking element for any private venture capital investment. Donors see their investments multiplied by an average of 5-6 times, with that number increasing every year. All returns on the T1D Fund’s investments fuel further research.

In just over four years, the Fund and its venture capital partners have invested over $600 million in T1D programs. The number of companies working on T1D therapies has grown from just a handful to nearly 30 pharmaceutical and biotech companies – backed by donors and venture capital investors worldwide.

We need Canadian philanthropists to help disrupt and de-risk the investment market in T1D. Donor support will create a perpetual source of financing and strategic expertise to ensure that life-changing products and therapies for people with T1D are developed and come to market.

As investors in a global fund, JDRF Canada donors have the unique opportunity to make an impact on a growing international market. As an exclusive Fund approaching long-term sustainability, the minimum investment in this opportunity is USD 500,000 over four years. Canadian donors are eligible for a full charitable tax receipt for the converted value of their donation. With their investment, T1D Fund donors are able to engage with the Fund’s leadership team every quarter.

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About T1D

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Interested in learning more?

Thank you for your interest in our $100M Campaign to Accelerate. Only with philanthropic support can we move the needle forward on research and programs that have the potential to impact not only thousands of people living with T1D in Canada, but millions around the world. Please complete this short form and we will send you more information tailored to you preferences. Contact us