DRC & Research News

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

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Pancreas Photo

Protecting Pancreatic Islet Cells Following Transplantation for T1D

One of the challenges researchers have faced in developing long-term treatment options for type 1 diabetes (T1D) using allogeneic cells is that the body often rejects these cells. This means that patients would still need to take anti-rejection or immunosuppressant medications, which can be hard on the body and contribute to other issues. However, researchers may have found an option that protects cells while allowing them to control glucose levels.

In a new study, researchers encapsulated pancreatic islet cells with seven different alginate formulations and transplanted them into non-human primates. The goal was to maintain function of the cells without disruption by common challenges such as foreign-body response, pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth, or sedimentation of the microspheres. Of the seven alginates used, three showed transient islet graft function with decreased foreign-body response. One of the chemically modified microsphere formulations protected cells and glucose-response for four months without requiring immunosuppression.

This is a positive step toward correcting insulin deficiency using allogeneic cells. More research is necessary on the alginate formulations, and clinical trials have not yet been conducted in humans. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC), though not involved in this trial, is interested to see where this study will lead and what it may mean for the future of T1D treatment options.

The DRC is committed to supporting T1D research and providing funding for early career scientists to carry out novel research projects. Learn more about current projects by visiting http://diabetesresearchconnection.org and consider donating to these efforts.

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disability form

Qualifying for Social Security Benefits With Diabetes Complications

Guest Post by Disability Benefits Help

If you’re unable to manage your diabetes with lifestyle changes and medication, you may be eligible for assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly disability benefits for people who are unable to work due to an illness or injury that will last for at least 12 months. While it is challenging to qualify with diabetes, those with significant complications may be eligible for help.

Medical Eligibility Via the Blue Book

The SSA uses its own medical guidebook of eligibility criteria, known colloquially as the Blue Book, when deeming eligibility status. Diabetes is not listed as a disabling condition in the Blue Book, but some of its complications are. Here are a couple of listings you may be able to qualify under:


An amputation alone also will not qualify for disability benefits, but you will be eligible if you can meet any one of the following criteria:

  • You have both hands amputated
  • You have two limbs amputated but you’re unable to walk without use of two crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair
  • You have an amputation at the hip

If your mobility is severely limited, you should be able to qualify under the amputation listing. Keep in mind that this listing is for people who are unable to successfully use artificial limbs. If you’re able to walk with an artificial limb, you will not qualify here.


Neuropathy will also qualify under the Blue Book. The first listing states that you’ll be eligible if you have neuropathy in at least two limbs and it makes it impossible for you to either stand from a seated position, balance while standing upright, or walk without using crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair.

If you still have some mobility but it’s affecting your ability to work, you will also qualify if you have significant difficulty with any one of the following areas of intellectual function:

  • Understanding, remembering, and applying information
  • Interacting with others in a work setting
  • Concentrating and completing tasks
  • “Adapting oneself,” which means controlling emotions in a work setting

The entire Blue Book can be found online, so you can review it with your doctor to determine if you qualify. There are dozens of listings that may be relevant for people with diabetes, including cardiovascular disorders, additional mobility problems, and more.

Starting Your Application

The easiest way to apply for disability is online on the SSA’s website. If you’d prefer, you can also apply in person with the assistance from a Social Security representative. Call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment to apply in person at your closest SSA office.

It should take three to five months to hear back from the SSA regarding your claim. The more disabilities and complications of diabetes you list on your application, the better your odds of approval.


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Dexcom G6

FDA Approval of Insulin Pump with Basal-IQ™ Technology Increases Options for T1D Patients

There is a plethora of options when it comes to managing type 1 diabetes. Some people don’t mind the finger sticks and calculation of insulin dosages, while others prefer to have everything automated for better monitoring and control. As technology changes and research improves, so do the devices used to treat T1D, which can make the process easier and less stressful.

The FDA recently approved the t:slim X2™ Insulin Pump with Basal-IQ™ technology by Tandem Diabetes Care®, Inc., and it is expected to be available in August 2018. This device is an automated insulin delivery system, but it has the ability to work with integrated continuous glucose monitoring (iCGM) systems and can automatically suspend insulin delivery when low glucose levels are predicted. The Basal-IQ technology can predict glucose levels up to 30 minutes in advance and respond accordingly. Once glucose rises, it once again begins administering insulin.

Patients who have the Dexcom G6® CGM will be able to use this device in conjunction with it. During the study, participants had a 31 percent reduction in the amount of time their blood sugar levels were at 70 mg/dL or lower. In addition, they experienced no rebound hyperglycemia thanks to the Basal-IQ technology.

Patients are in control of how they use the system and can turn the Basal-IQ feature on or off depending on their preference. They can also use the touchscreen system to display a CGM chart or simply the Bolus and Option buttons. Plus, they can customize the alerts received for highs and lows or insulin delivery being turned on or off. Furthermore, when integrated with the Dexcom G6 CGM, there are no finger sticks required to calibrate the system or determine dosing at mealtimes thanks to the Basal-IQ technology.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see new technology being developed and approved in order to improve quality of life and diabetes management for individuals with T1D. The organization strives to support continued advancement in the field through funding early career scientists conducting peer-reviewed studies. Click to learn more about current projects and provide support.

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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