DRC & Research News

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

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New Technology May Mean Longer Lasting CGM Sensors

If you have ever used a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system to manage type 1 diabetes (T1D), you know that the glucose sensors typically only last a few days before they must be replaced. This can be an annoying yet necessary part of ensuring accurate results and effectively managing blood sugar levels. However, Senseonics recently received approval from the FDA on its Premarket Approval (PMA) application for a device containing a sensor that lasts up to three months before needing to be replaced.

The Eversense® CGM system is the only one to offer this continuous long-term monitoring. Rather than patients inserting the sensor themselves, it is implanted subcutaneously in the upper arm by a physician as an in-office procedure. This can help to alleviate the concern that individuals may have about doing it themselves or experiencing discomfort while wearing the sensor.

CGM systems can greatly improve diabetes management, but unfortunately, many people still are not taking advantage of this technology either because it is not available to them, they are concerned about the accuracy of the system, or they do not wear it as consistently as they should. Since this new system uses a sensor that lasts for up to three months, it eliminates the need to regularly change out sensors. Plus, the transmitter used to relay information is easily recharged without having to change sensors, and it works using Bluetooth technology. It also offers discreet on-body vibrations to give users alerts. CGM systems have been shown to decrease the risk of severe hypoglycemia and improve glucose control in individuals with T1D.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how long-term sensors impact CGM use and management of T1D. The DRC is committed to supporting advancements in the treatment and prevention of T1D as well as improved quality of life for individuals living with the disease. That is why the organization provides valuable funding for early career scientists to conduct peer-reviewed, novel research studies for T1D. Check out current projects and learn how you can help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

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Metformin Medicine - medication concept

Metformin May Support Insulin Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes

Managing diabetes can be a very tedious process. Individuals must be vigilant about monitoring diet and exercise and how it affects their blood glucose levels. Insulin must be correctly dosed and administered to counteract these effects. Even with careful tracking, some individuals still have difficulty managing their type 1 diabetes and develop insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and other complications.

Typically metformin is a medication prescribed for those with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes to increase insulin sensitivity and insulin action. However, a recent study examined the effects of combining metformin with insulin therapy to treat individuals with type 1 diabetes who had poorly controlled blood glucose levels despite intensive insulin therapy. The study was small, involving 58 individuals with T1D who had comparable characteristics in terms of age, sex, BMI, blood pressure, lipids, hypertension, body weight, insulin dose requirement, duration of diabetes, and other factors.

Twenty-nine participants continued to receive insulin therapy alone, while the other 29 received a combination of metformin and insulin therapy. The study, which lasted one year, found that those in the metformin-insulin group required a lower dose of insulin after one year (a decrease of 0.03 IU/kg/d) compared to those in the insulin only group who actually required a higher dose of insulin (an increase of 0.11 IU/kg/d).  The metformin-insulin group also saw a decrease in metabolic syndrome prevalence, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and postprandial plasma glucose (PPG) compared to the insulin only group.

A larger study is necessary to further evaluate long-term effects, glucose control, insulin sensitivity, and other factors related to effectively managing type 1 diabetes. However, the study sheds light on the potential benefits of combining metformin with insulin therapy for not just individuals with type 2 diabetes, but those with type 1 diabetes as well.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see what this could mean for future diabetes management strategies and approaches to helping those with poor glucose control despite intensive insulin therapy. The DRC supports novel research studies on type 1 diabetes by early-career scientists and provides critical funding for these projects. To learn more about current projects or find out how to help, visit Our Projects.

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Insurance Gaps Put Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes at Increased Risk

Over the past few years, health insurance has gone through some major changes. Since type 1 diabetes requires constant monitoring and daily management with insulin, having insurance coverage is essential to help offset costs and promote effective self-care. A recent study found that individuals who experience gaps in private healthcare insurance coverage may be at greater risk for health crises.

The study involved data collected from approximately 169,000 adults with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 19 and 64 during the time period of early 2001 to mid-2015. Researchers evaluated this data and found that visits to the emergency room, hospital, or urgent care were five times more likely when patients regained coverage after a gap in insurance of 30 to 60 days. When the coverage gap expanded to 91 to 120 days, those individuals were seven times more likely to visit the emergency room, hospital, or urgent care.

These visits can be incredibly costly, but risk can be reduced with consistent insurance coverage and self-care under the direction of a physician. The study found that young adults – those in their 20s and 30s – were more likely to experience gaps in coverage than middle-aged and older adults. What part of the country individuals resided in played a role as well, with the north-central and southern parts of the United States seeing higher rates of gaps.

Since type 1 diabetes affects approximately 1.25 million Americans, it is essential that quality care and insurance coverage are available to support improved health and well-being and reduce the risk of preventable health crises.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is passionate about exploring various aspects of type 1 diabetes from prevention and treatment to potential cures and improved quality of life. The DRC provides valuable funding to support novel research studies regarding this condition. To learn more about current projects or donate to these efforts, visit Our Projects.

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Gut bacteria , gut flora, microbiome. Bacteria inside the small

Exploring the Role of Microorganisms in Glucose Management

Although diabetes has been a topic of research for decades, there are still many unknowns. Researches are always discovering different elements that affect how the disease develops and is managed. Gut bacteria has been a recent area of interest, and researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, have stumbled upon an interesting discovery.

While attempting to study the circadian rhythms of mouse metabolism following depletion of the mouse’s microbiome, they noticed something else intriguing: after being treated with antibiotics to kill off certain microorganisms, they found that the mice were able to more quickly and efficiently process glucose. The colon became enlarged as it took on a more prominent role in absorbing extra sugar, which decreased blood glucose levels. In addition, liver function changed as well, which affected metabolism.

Mice – and humans – all have a microbiome composed of a variety of microorganisms that all play a role in health. While some microbes put mice at greater risk of developing diabetes, some actually decrease this risk. The researchers are looking more closely at how certain bacteria affect the body and its function. They already know that ridding the body of bacteria has a significant impact on a mouse’s metabolism.

The scientists are now developing plans to study what elements in the microbiome affect liver function. According to Satchidananda Panda, senior author on the paper and a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute, “Perhaps we could find ways to support the growth of certain gut microbes and induce these changes in glucose regulation in humans. We are now one step closer to translating this research.”

Though there is still a great deal of research that needs to be done before potential treatment options for diabetes emerge, it is a step in the right direction. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) follows the latest industry news to see what is on the horizon for diabetes care and treatment. The DRC contributes to advancements in research by providing funding for early career scientists pursuing novel research studies related to type 1 diabetes. Find out more about the organization and how to help by visiting Our Projects.

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Medicare Implements Positive Changes to Policies for CGMs

Managing type 1 diabetes can be a difficult task. Individuals must constantly be aware of whether their blood glucose levels are rising, falling, or remaining stable. This has a significant impact on their well-being and quality of life. Many people have turned to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) to help them track their blood glucose and adjust their insulin dosages and diet accordingly.

However, until January 2017, CGMs were not covered by Medicare, and even after new policies were rolled out at the start of the year, only certain devices were covered (the Dexcom G5 CGM and later the Abbott Freestyle Libre CGM). While this was a win for individuals with T1D who used these devices, there was a huge catch to the new policy: the CGMs could not be used in conjunction with smartphone applications. They had to be used solely with the provided data receiver. If the smartphone app was used, Medicare would not cover their supplies.

This was problematic because the app could be used to share information with family members, caregivers, and medical providers and allowed for closer tracking and monitoring of blood glucose levels. The app also provided helpful alerts and alarms so that users would know when their blood sugar was becoming too high or low and could respond accordingly.

After much lobbying and debate, the policy was finally changed in June 2018. Under the revised policy, individuals with CGMs are permitted to use the smartphone application in conjunction with the receiver and device. This is an important change because it means individuals have more options and flexibility in managing their diabetes and can share information as necessary.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) acknowledges this as a step in the right direction toward making diabetes care more accessible and affordable and supporting data sharing to make more informed treatment-related decisions. T1D is a challenging disease, and researchers are learning more every day about causes, treatment options, and potential cures. The DRC supports early career scientists in conducting peer-reviewed novel research studies regarding T1D. To learn more, visit Our Projects.

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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