DRC & Research News

This page shares the latest news in T1D research and DRC’s community.

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Female Scientist

Gallbladder Cells May Be A Viable Source for Treating Type 1 Diabetes

One of the main focuses of many studies regarding type 1 diabetes is how to generate new cells or reprogram existing cells to function as insulin-producing beta cells. Scientists have been exploring islet transplantation, gene editing, and more. Now, scientists from Oregon Health and Science University led by Professor Markus Grompe and Dr. Feorillo Galivo are evaluating the potential that human gallbladder cells may hold.

In type 1 diabetes, the body mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells leading to uncontrolled blood glucose levels. The scientists introduced four new genes into harvested gallbladder cells which reprogrammed the cells to act more like the insulin-producing beta cells that the body had destroyed. In laboratory testing, these cells were able to respond to increased blood glucose levels by producing insulin. They also transplanted the cells into mice, but more research is needed to determine whether they are able to effectively control blood glucose levels. One issue that was discovered is that the cells had a very short lifespan, only surviving about four weeks. Some cells were also overly active.

They are still in the earlier stages of research and more testing and adjustment is necessary, but preliminary results show that this technique may hold great potential. This is yet another treatment strategy to explore and see how it can be used to treat and potentially cure type 1 diabetes.

The Diabetes Research Connection supports novel research projects by early career scientists providing up to $50,000 in funding. Projects are all focused on preventing and curing type 1 diabetes or improving quality of life for those living with the disease. To become a donor and support these initiatives, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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Halloween Candy Carbohydrate Counts for People with T1D

Understanding T1D

Carbohydrate counts are important with people with diabetes. The spookiest part of Halloween for people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) isn’t ghosts or ghouls; it’s the carb-loaded candies. In T1D, the body can’t produce insulin, leading to an inability to regulate blood sugar levels.

Role of Carbohydrates

So, what’s the big deal with carbs? Carbohydrates, found abundantly in sweets, are the primary source of energy for the body. They break down into glucose, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. This is a tricky balance for people with T1D, but don’t fear! With some knowledge and planning, Halloween can still be fun.

How Halloween affects T1D Management

Imagine being in a candy-filled battlefield. That’s Halloween for people with T1D. The sheer abundance of sweet treats can make blood sugar management a challenging feat. But, isn’t knowledge power? Let’s use it to tame the Halloween candy monster!

Popular Halloween Candies and Their Carbohydrate Counts

Knowing the carbohydrate content of your favorite Halloween candies can help manage T1D. Let’s uncover the carb counts of some popular treats.



The fun-size Snickers is a Halloween favorite. Each of these tiny delights contains approximately 10g of carbohydrates.


A fun-size pack of these colorful chocolates has around 9g of carbohydrates.


Gummy Bears

A small pack of gummy bears has around 14g of carbohydrates. They’re chewy, they’re tasty, but they’re also pretty high in carbs!

Jelly Beans

With about 37g of carbs per small bag, jelly beans are a carb powerhouse.

Lollipops and Hard Candies

Jolly Ranchers

Each Jolly Rancher has about 6g of carbohydrates. They last long and don’t pack a huge carb punch.

Dum Dums

These tiny lollipops have about 6g of carbs each. A bonus? They last a long time!

Strategies to Manage T1D during Halloween

Now that we’ve unmasked the carbs in these candies, how do we use this information?

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

Keep a close eye on blood sugar levelsduring and after candy consumption. This will help adjust insulin doses accurately and avoid spikes in blood sugar.

Selecting the Right Candies

Choose candies lower in carbohydrates or ones that last longer (like lollipops). They offer the sweetness without a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

Timing Candy Consumption

If possible, enjoy candies around mealtime when insulin is already being administered. This can help mitigate some of the blood sugar spikes.


Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for people with T1D. With knowledge about carbohydrate counts of popular candies and some smart strategies, it can be just as fun. Remember, the goal isn’t to banish all candies but to enjoy them in a way that keeps blood sugar levels stable. Stay safe, stay sweet, and have a happy Halloween!


  1. Are some candies better than others for people with T1D? Yes, candies that have lower carbohydrates or last longer (like lollipops) can be better options.
  2. Can people with T1D eat candy? Yes, they can. However, they must monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust their insulin dosage accordingly.
  3. What is the best time to consume candy for a person with T1D? Around mealtime can be a good time to consume candy as insulin is already being administered.
  4. How does carbohydrate counting help people with T1D? Knowing the carbohydrate content of foods helps in determining the correct insulin dosage and maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
  5. How can I enjoy Halloween with T1D? With knowledge about the carbohydrate content of candies, regular monitoring of blood sugar, and timing candy consumption, you can enjoy Halloween safely.

Click here for a printable version.

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Children & honeymoon phase T1D

Simpler Measuring Technique May Help Identify Partial Clinical Remission in Type 1 Diabetes

One of the major challenges of type 1 diabetes is effectively managing blood glucose levels. It is a careful balancing act and differs for every patient. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells. This means that patients require regular insulin injections to compensate. However, this is not a perfect solution and patients may still experience complications or side effects and need to be carefully monitored.

Researchers found that after children are initially diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and begin treatment, some experience partial clinical remission (PCR), also known as a “honeymoon period.” During this period, the pancreas is still producing some insulin on its own, and this can temporarily restore blood glucose levels to near normal. This means that patients require fewer or lower doses of insulin. The honeymoon period may last from three months to one year.

But not all children experience this effect. Those who do not are at a higher risk of developing diabetes-related complications. This makes it even more important for physicians to determine whether or not children go into partial clinical remission so they can develop a more effective treatment plan moving forward.

Traditionally partial clinical remission is determined by calculating daily insulin doses and average blood glucose levels and then analyzing the correlation (known as IDAA1C). This can take some time, and when faced with tight time schedules, physicians may not use this method as often as recommended.

In light of this, UMass Medical School physician-scientist Benjamin Nwosu, MD, began studying the accuracy of a simpler method. This approach involves evaluating the total daily dose of insulin the child receives compared to their body weight. If they receive less than 0.3 units per kilogram of body weight per day, it indicates they are in partial clinical remission. There were no major differences in results between using this method and the more complex IDAA1C technique. It is a faster way for clinicians to determine the same results and is just as reliable.

According to Dr. Nwosu, “Encouraging clinicians to use the total daily dose of insulin guideline will improve monitoring of PCR and, therefore, ensure the prevention of early hyperglycemia in patients who exceed it for better long-term outcomes.”

It is encouraging to see an emphasis on early detection and more effective treatment for type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection raises funds for early career scientists who are pursuing novel research projects related to the prevention and cure of type 1 diabetes as well as improving quality of life for those living with the disease. One hundred percent of research funds go directly to scientists. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support.

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One of the things that we’ll do more of in the future for Sweet Talkers is to discuss how to lower the number of carbohydrates in a recipe. For example, I was reviewing a recipe with that goal in mind just recently and wanted to share some carb lowering information.

First of all, I am always testing sugars in recipes with the goal of using the healthiest, least processed sugar I can find. Obviously, I am also always looking to limit the amount of sugar I use in a recipe as well but still maintain the sweet taste. Thirdly, I’m always going for good taste. Here’s an example of the kind of analysis I do:

  • 1 Tablespoon of organic Honey =  64 Calories, 17gr Carbs, No Fiber
  • 1 Tablespoon of organic Coconut Nectar = 87 Calories, 18gr Carbs, No Fiber
  • 1 Tablespoon of organic Maple Syrup =       52 Calories, 13gr Carbs, 2mg Sodium

You can easily see here that organic Maple Syrup is the lowest in carbs but will the maple taste alter the taste of the recipe too much? That’s the main question: how will changing an ingredient taste within a given recipe? Also, I track calories as well since that’s often a concern re weight gain.

If the recipe I’m working on altering (to be more diabetic friendly) won’t taste good with Maple Syrup, I typically use Coconut Nectar because the coconut taste usually just comes across as sweet; not coconutty, and the taste is subtle and lower carb in general. I also will typically cut the sugar amount in a recipe by two thirds to one half and see if I can still maintain a sweet enough taste.

Another very helpful substance to use to lower sugars in recipes are extracts for flavoring. While we’re all accustomed to using vanilla extract, especially when baking, there are many other flavored extracts that work beautifully to enhance the flavor of a recipe without increasing the sugar amounts.

Medicine flower culinary extracts offer an extensive line of extracts in many different flavors. As an example, you can take plain yogurt and add about (3) drops of liquid Stevia (no carbs) followed by a drop or two of tropical extract and have a delicious and sweet morning yogurt without any spike in your blood sugars.

Here’s the bottom line: When looking to make a typical, favorite recipe more diabetic friendly, find out first which ingredients have the highest carbs. Then look for healthier, lower carb substitutes that will still maintain the taste/flavor of that recipe and swap the lower carb ingredient in.  Consider using culinary extracts to enhance and compensate for high sugar amounts in recipes.

 At first, this seems time-consuming but altering recipes to make them healthier and more diabetic friendly is a habit that forms easily. It all starts with just paying more attention to what you’re really eating and a number of carbohydrates in a given recipe. Remember, look for foods that are organic, Non-GMO and the least processed.

For more information on this topic and Type 1 Diabetic friendly recipes, visit www.sweettalkers.org

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What Gene Editing Could Mean for Type 1 Diabetes

Altering human genetics is a sensitive subject. There are a lot of things that could potentially go wrong, but also many that could go right. CRISPR/Cas9 technology allows scientists to precisely cut out a segment of DNA and replace it with a new segment. By modifying specific genes, they could essentially eliminate certain diseases and remove inherited diseases from the human germline.

This unleashes new opportunities when it comes to treating – and potentially curing – diabetes. Scientists recently implanted skin grafts with a gene (GLP1) to stimulate insulin secretion by the pancreas. They attached these grafts to mice and found that the new genes helped to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream. Using skin grafts is a safe and relatively inexpensive process.

Researchers in Sweden managed to use CRISPR/Cas9 to switch off an enzyme that is involved in regulating the TXNIP gene which affects beta cell death and decreases insulin production. In Australia, the technology was used to try to identify rogue immune cells that attack the pancreas and contribute to the development of type 1 diabetes.

However, there is still more research that needs to be done to fully understand the impact of gene editing and potential effects that it could have. Though highly precise, there is still around a one percent chance of off-target effects occurring. These are changes to other parts of the genome outside of the area targeted by CRISPR/Cas9. There is a lot of risks involved with changing human DNA and many questions that are still unanswered. Furthermore, many of these studies have been conducted on mice and results do not always correlate exactly to humans.

But with more extensive testing and research, scientists may be able to find a safe way to treat or even cure diabetes through gene editing. Studies that exist so far hold potentially promising results. It is these types of cutting-edge, innovative approaches that could change the future of type 1 diabetes. The Diabetes Research Connection proudly supports early career scientists in pursuing novel research for type 1 diabetes. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support.

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Stem Cell

Tackling Type 1 Diabetes at a Cellular Level

In individuals with type 1 diabetes, the body mistakenly attacks insulin-producing cells and destroys them. This leaves the body unable to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood or shift the sugar into cells that convert it into energy. Uncontrolled blood sugar can take a toll on the body damaging the kidneys and heart and leading to other complications. Individuals with type 1 diabetes must take care to monitor their own blood sugar and administer the correct amount of insulin to make up for the work that would normally be done by the pancreatic cells.

However, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are looking for a way to overcome these challenges by focusing on change at a cellular level. Since the body destroys insulin-producing cells, they are striving to replace them. The researchers want to use the body’s own pluripotent stem cells and turn them into pancreatic islet cells.

To do this, they must determine exactly how to manipulate the cells to get them to transform into the islet cells needed by the body. They are working in collaboration with other universities to further their studies.

According to Ipsita Banerjee, principal investigator in the study and a professor of chemical and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, “We should be able to mass produce these islets, and actually, we have another grant where we are primarily looking into how to mass produce pluripotent stem cells.”

Results from early clinical trials show short-term improvement in more than half of participants. They were able to go off of insulin for two-week periods of time during the first year but most eventually had to continue using insulin injections. Further testing and clinical trials could help to improve these results.

This is far from the only study being conducted to improve the lives of individuals with type 1 diabetes. Researchers are continually striving to make innovate breakthroughs and try cutting-edge approaches. The Diabetes Research Connection supports early career scientists with up to $50,000 in funding for research on type 1 diabetes. These are projects that hold potential but may be passed over by more prominent and competitive funding sources. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support. Every penny counts.

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Cellular Level

Could Beta Cell Age and Differentiation Play a Role in the Development of Diabetes?

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is yet unknown. Researchers have a good understanding of how type 1 diabetes works and impacts the body, but not of the cellular intricacies that contribute to the development of the disease. A recent study examined the age and role of beta cells within pancreatic islets to better understand proliferation and function within the organ.

The study examined zebrafish and found that younger beta cells replicate more quickly than older beta cells, but they are less functional in terms of glucose responsiveness. As cells mature, they synchronize their proliferation and function.  In addition, within the pancreas differentiated cells are responsible for both organ growth and function, but it is yet undetermined whether certain cells make specific contributions to one factor or the other.  Organs such as the brain operate differently when it comes to increases in cellular mass and differentiation of cell function.

Through closer examination, researchers found that in the pancreas, beta cells differentiate according to the location in different parts of the embryo. In post-embryonic stages of development, beta cells from these different lineages are all brought together. This may also impact glucose responsiveness and the ability to balance insulin production with the energy necessary to support cell division. More research is necessary to determine exactly how proliferation and function affect heterogeneity in human beta cells and pancreatic islets.

The Diabetes Research Connection supports innovative and cutting-edge research when it comes to type 1 diabetes. Funds are raised for early career scientists to advance their research and contribute to the prevention or cure of type 1 diabetes as well as improving quality of life for those living with the disease. To learn more and support research efforts, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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See our approved research projects and campaigns.

Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha