2018: Celebrating 25 years of our Walk
25 years have gone by really fast, and there’s nothing more rewarding for us here at JDRF than to look back and see the major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research worldwide our annual Walk has helped us fund.
Our first Walk was held in 1994 in just three locations – Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa; and collectively raised $100,000. Since that inaugural year, the Walk has grown to 65 locations from coast-to-coast, raising more than $135 million for T1D research!
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the JDRF Walk, which is presently called the Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF. To celebrate, we’re highlighting the top 10 milestones achieved by JDRF and the T1D community:
1999 Edmonton Protocol
In 1999, the Edmonton Protocol determined that by isolating islet cells from a donated pancreas and transplanting them into the liver of an insulin-dependent recipient with severe T1D, the donor islet cells will produce insulin which help the transplant recipient regain control of their blood sugar levels, thus eliminating or greatly reducing the need for daily insulin injections. Today, research from the Edmonton Protocol is still being applied in laboratories across the world, with a specific focus on how to address the auto-immune response to islet transplantation.
2006 Launch of Artificial Pancreas Project
In 2006, JDRF launched the Artificial Pancreas Project (APP) to accelerate the development of a commercially-viable artificial pancreas as a system to ultimately mimic the biological function of the pancreas for patients with T1D. By automating detection of blood sugar levels and delivery of insulin in response to those levels, an artificial pancreas has the potential to transform the lives of people with T1D.
2009 JDRF and Canadian Government launch the $34 million Canadian Clinical Trial Network
Created in partnership with the Government of Canada in 2009, funding for JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (JDRF CCTN) came from a commitment of $20 million by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, with an additional $14 million contribution from JDRF. The $34 million investment accelerates the testing of new technologies and treatments for Canadians and individuals around the world living with T1D and its complications.
2013 Research Conducted to Prevent and Reverse Nerve Damage
Dr. Paul Fernyhough, a Winnipeg-based researcher, developed the first treatment for diabetic sensory neuropathy - a devastating condition where nerves are damaged and die. More than half of Canadians with T1D develop diabetic sensory neuropathy. Dr. Fernyhough and his team have developed a compound that can be applied topically which reverses diabetic nerve damage by targeting pathways related to nerve regeneration in diabetic mice.
2015 Encapsulation Research
In partnership with San Diego-based Viacyte Inc., JDRF launches clinical trials for an experimental encapsulation device called VC-01TM, for the treatment of T1D. Encapsulated beta cell replacement involves wrapping insulin-producing islet cells in a protective barrier before implanting them into the body. This barrier shields the cells from being destroyed by an attack from the immune system, but the cells are still able to sense changes in blood-sugar levels and release insulin and other required hormones whenever they’re needed.
2016 Closed Loop Artificial Pancreas Approved
In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first hybrid closed loop system in the world. For a decade, JDRF, through its research and advocacy work, catalyzed development of artificial pancreas systems, the Medtronic MiniMed 670G hybrid closed-loop system.
2017 CONCEPPT Study Outcomes
The CONCEPTT Study, a 10-year global study led by JDRF and co-led by a Canadian investigator, found that the use of Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) technology throughout pregnancy by women with T1D improved the health of both mothers and their newborns. The results prompted the authors to call for physicians to offer CGM devices to all pregnant women with T1D as part of their prenatal care.
2017 Disability Tax Credit Challenge
After many months of advocacy work by JDRF, Diabetes Canada and the type 1 diabetes community, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reversed a controversial change to the way it assesses whether taxpayers with T1D qualify for the disability tax credit. The CRA's initial revision in May 2017 led to its denial of almost all adult claims.
2017 $30M Partnership to Defeat Diabetes
In 2017, the Canadian Government, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Research announced it would join with JDRF to create the $30M Partnership to Defeat Diabetes. Each partner will contribute $15M to the Partnership which will support up to 10 new clinical trials across Canada.
These are only some of the achievements we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 25 years, and we’re excited to see where the next research advancements will take us. JDRF is currently funding more than 60 human clinical trials of potential T1D therapies led by some of the world’s best and brightest minds in T1D research. We’re extremely proud of the work our investigators are doing in getting us closer than ever to a cure, and we can’t wait to celebrate it with you!
Learn more about how you can show your support for major scientific breakthroughs in T1D research by joining us at this year’s Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF. Together we can turn type 1 into type none.