JDRF and the University of Toronto support research into a skin patch to prevent common, life-threatening risk of T1D

TORONTO – October 20, 2016, JDRF and the University of Toronto are pleased to announce a $400,000 (USD) research grant to support the development of a skin [transdermal] patch to prevent hypoglycemia – a common, potentially life-threatening, risk for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, can occur as an unintended side effect of insulin therapy. It strikes when the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose levels is compromised so patients become hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia can lead to confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures or death. It is the most serious acute complication associated with insulin therapy.

Investigators at the University of Toronto are working to develop the first-of-its-kind disposable, microneedle transdermal patch that will automatically sense when blood glucose levels are too low and deliver glucagon, or other regulatory hormones, in “real time” to prevent hypoglycemic events.

“This system is intended to autonomously prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia and/or facilitate intensive insulin therapy during the day without fear of hypoglycemic episodes,” said Dr. Shirley X.Y. Wu, principal investigator, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, and Dr. Adria Giacca, co-investigator, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. “We hope to develop a ‘smart’ transdermal patch which does not require complex mechanical and electronic parts and is affordable for all patients.”  

“We anticipate that these innocuous and painlessly worn transdermal patches will effectively minimize hypoglycemia, and ultimately lead to solutions for controlling hypoglycemia overnight and while doing daily activities such as driving,” said Dave Prowten, President and CEO, JDRF Canada.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D. JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. For more information, please visit jdrf.ca


Media contact
Diana Buccella
National Communications Specialist, JDRF Canda
[email protected]



Lets turn type one into type none