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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 2 of Series 2

If you are confused and wondering why I am writing a blog responding to Erika Szumel’s article, “Tips for Managing T1D in the Workplace,” when I work at a type one diabetic non-profit, know that I have worked difficult jobs in the past where this information would have been extremely helpful. I have never hidden my disease from anyone in school, around friends, or even total strangers I have just met. However, when I started looking for a job, I remember my dad explicitly warning me not to use my disease as a crutch or allow my superiors, coworkers, and clients to use my disease against my capabilities. While no-one threatened me, there was always underlying tension in my previous positions that forced me to be sub-par with my T1D management to appear as a stellar employee, and I paid for it physically. 

The first item that Erika touches on in her article is to “Be Open.” Erika makes a great point stating that “T1D is a disease that, unfortunately, our world does not know well enough yet, exposing your coworkers to it from the start will also leave a mark on them.” I always told my coworkers about my disease, and they were accommodating when it came to good and bad days. Sure, they offered unhelpful advice at times, but their support and sympathy got me through difficult situations with my superiors. This is where things get interesting. When I forgot my T1D supplies or my blood sugar was high/low, my previous superiors still had tasks for me. After I mentioned an issue regarding my disease, some of them would begin a request with something along the lines of, “I know you couldn’t finish X last week because you had diabetes problems. If you could inform me earlier about your condition, I can find someone else to handle your work.” Ouch, right? After hearing something like that, I never mentioned how I was feeling and dealt with the consequences in order to make them happy in fear of losing my position. This brings up another vital tip that Erika writes about, “Don’t Downplay Diabetes.” I never looked into the programs and laws that were protecting me, and that is my fault. I could have had a seizure or gone into diabetic ketoacidosis and made my situation worse for myself. If you want to see all of the resources that can help you if you are in a difficult situation at work, click here and here

After two arduous years of putting the needs of my job above my health and realizing that it wasn’t worth the pain, I decided my next position was going to be positive for not only my mental and emotional health but, more importantly, my physical health. I followed Erika’s last tip, “Don’t Be Afraid to Step Away.” While she means it is ok to step away at any time in a job, like during meetings or events, I also took it to mean leaving a toxic profession/position. Now I am the development and program assistant at Diabetes Research Connection, and instead of ignoring my health, I take breaks a lot. My supervisor knows me well after explaining how I function as a T1D even though she isn’t. When I feel low, I know it is ok to take a 15-30 minute break to get back to 100% or close to it. If I am having issues with my CGM, have a doctor’s appointment, or dealing with a bad blood sugar, she doesn’t question my ability to get the job done; her first question is, “Is there anything I can do to help?” or tells me to do what I need to so that I am healthy. It is so important to have good communication with your direct supervisor and coworkers so that you have the support you need and peace of mind that you don’t need to fear losing your position. Just know that you can continue to be the best employee you are without jeopardizing your health. 

This blog was written by Hannah Gebauer, DRC’s Development Assistant, who has had T1D for 18 years and is responding to the article, “Tips for Managing T1D in the Workplace.”

Hannah Gebauer

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Kids with T1D

Increased Parental Awareness May Help Reduce Risk of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Children First Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” Many children in the United States and Canada present with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) when they are first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, a recent study found that increased parental awareness about a child’s risk for developing T1D may lead to earlier detection of the disease before DKA occurs. Educating parents about what symptoms to look for, especially if T1D runs in their family, is essential.

Data was analyzed from the Trial to Reduce Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus in the Genetically at Risk (TRIGR) Study because these parents already knew their child was at greater risk. When looking at incidences of DKA, they were lower than that of the general population. In the United States, around 40% of children diagnosed with T1D also have DKA, and this rate is about 19% in Canada. But in the TRIGR study, the overall rate was just 4.6%, or eight out of 173 patients. 

One point to note is that cases of DKA at the time of T1D diagnosis were not evenly divided among participants from the different countries. The United States still showed higher levels than Canada at 12.5% and 2.2%, respectively. More research is needed to understand why these differences exist and whether the fact that some countries such as Canada have universal healthcare plays a role. In addition, “each participant with T1D in the TRIGR study had a first-degree relative with T1D, which was not the case in earlier studies.” This may have played a role in their understanding of the signs to be aware of.

More in-depth studies are needed to evaluate further the impact of parental awareness on earlier detection of T1D and reduced risk of DKA. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested in seeing what additional research reveals and how it could play a part in T1D diagnosis and education. The DRC is committed to supporting early-career scientists in pursuing novel research around all aspects of T1D. To learn more, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

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Driving with Diabetes

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 1 of Series 2

When I read Makaila Heifner’s article on Beyond Type 1 called, “The Driving Diabetic,” it brought me back to when I first got my license. I was already stressed about parallel parking, hitting curbs, and driving on the freeway–and then, unlike most of my friends, I also had to stay aware of how my disease impacted my driving abilities. 

Makaila recommends that people with type 1 diabetes check their blood sugar every time before they drive to make sure they are at an adequate level. This has become a consistent part of my driving routine: knowing that my blood glucose is stable helps ease my anxiety while driving and gives me confidence that my journey will be safe. I have a Continuous Glucose Monitor, which allows me to see my blood glucose levels on an application on my phone. Makaila mentions how this helps her catch her blood glucose levels before they plummet or spike. However, the notifications I get from my phone can be distracting, and I cannot glance at my phone while I am driving. If I see a notification from my CGM pop up, I will pull over wherever is safest and check my blood glucose levels. 

My parents always tell me, “if you feel even a little bit low, do not keep driving. Pull over and call someone.” At age sixteen, this sounded ridiculously inconvenient. But, as Makaila reminds me, “Type 1 is never convenient.” I got low blood sugar one of the first times I drove with my father, and it was a very scary experience. My vision got blurry, and I had a hard time concentrating on the road. Makaila talks about how “driving with a low is the equivalent to driving drunk.” Thankfully, we were on a pretty slow road so I could pull into a parking lot, and my father drove the rest of the way home while I sipped out of a juice box. But, on the occasions where one does not have a passenger to take over the wheel for them, they have two options: one option is to pull over, eat something, and hang out for about twenty minutes until their blood sugar levels have returned to normal. When I do this, I call a friend or family member so they are aware of my situation. Sometimes I even share my location with them so they know where I am, in case I do not respond to their messages when I begin driving again. The second option for diabetics who experience low blood sugar while driving is to pull over, eat something, and call a friend or family member to pick them up (usually my friend or family member will Uber to me so they can drive my car home).  I do this when my blood sugar levels are extremely low, and I know I won’t feel safe to drive again for a while. 

It’s important to make sure you always have a bag of low snacks in the car, as well as extra diabetes supplies. Although I have had diabetes for almost my entire life, sometimes I still forget needles or test strips. Trust me, it’s not fun to be stuck somewhere without the ability to give insulin or check your blood glucose levels.

I have been driving for only four years, and now my pre-driving planning occurs almost unconsciously. Stable blood sugars? Check. Low supplies? Check. Sunglasses and good music? Double check. Although type 1 diabetics have a few more things to consider while driving, driving with diabetes can still be manageable and stress-free.

This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is responding to the article, “The Driving Diabetic.” 

Lauren Grove

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Early Detection of Kidney Disease

Empowering Early Detection of Kidney Disease at Home Using Smartphones

In addition to worrying about blood glucose levels, individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are also at greater risk for developing other health conditions such as chronic kidney disease or CKD. This is something that they should be regularly screened for and be aware of potential symptoms.

Advances in artificial intelligence and digital technology may make it easier for individuals with T1D to test for kidney disease from the comfort of their own homes. A current study is underway in the United Kingdom to determine if providing patients with a simple testing kit and using their smartphone’s camera to scan results and transmit them to their healthcare provider. The app may make diagnosing abnormal results easier and allow patients to schedule follow-ups more quickly.

Participants in the study receive a kit that contains a urine dipstick, a container for urine collection, and a color board. After completing the dipstick testing, they hold it up to the color board and take a picture with their smartphone camera. According to the study, “Using AI and colourmetric analysis, the app is able to read the dipstick results equivalent to a lab-based device. Results are then shared instantly with the individual’s GP practice, which can follow up if there is an abnormal result.”

So far, the study has shown high levels of testing participation. Allowing for testing at home expands access and can generate cost savings for laboratories and clinics that no longer have to conduct testing on-site. Many people are not aware of the risks CKD can present, and early detection is critical for treating the disease before it becomes more severe.

The technology was created by Healthy.io and is being tested in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research. The team hopes to enroll 500,000 patients over the next three years.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see the potential that this technology solution may hold when it comes to detecting CKD in at-risk patients with type 1 diabetes. It may provide yet another line of defense for promoting better health and reducing complications of the disease.

The DRC, though not involved with this study, supports ongoing research related to T1D by providing critical funding to early-career scientists. These novel research studies focus on improving understanding of the disease and enhancing diagnosis, treatment, and management of T1D as well as efforts to find a cure. Learn more about current projects and how to support scientists by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds


Introduction: Understanding Diabetes and DRC’s T1DS Series

Did you know, globally, an estimated 463 million adults are living with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation? The numbers are staggering and reflect the importance of comprehensive understanding and management of this chronic disease. In comes the DRC’s T1DS series – a fresh, ground-breaking approach to understanding and dealing with Type 1 Diabetes. So, what’s the scoop?

Discussing Diabetes

To understand the revolution that DRC’s T1DS Series is stirring, let’s first get a basic grasp of diabetes. Simply put, diabetes is a disease that affects the way our bodies process glucose, a type of sugar that powers our cells.

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, our main focus, is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, glucose can’t enter the cells and builds up in the blood. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes is more common and is often related to lifestyle factors.

The Importance of Diabetes Management

Managing diabetes is crucial. It involves regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, taking prescribed medications, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It’s like riding a bicycle – you must keep pedaling, balance yourself, and stay on track to reach your destination. If you stop, you risk falling and potentially getting hurt.

DRC’s T1DS Series: A Revolutionary Approach to Diabetes

Enter DRC’s T1DS series – it’s like a GPS for navigating the complex journey of managing Type 1 Diabetes. The series aims to provide comprehensive, up-to-date information, and support for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Series Objective and Purpose

DRC’s T1DS Series’ main objective is to arm patients and their families with knowledge and strategies to manage diabetes effectively. Think of it as a toolbox, packed with everything you need to build a sturdy house – or in this case, manage a complex disease.

Series Structure and Content

The series is a blend of interactive modules, expert discussions, real-life testimonials, and virtual Q&A sessions. It’s structured like a multi-tiered cake, each layer offering a unique flavor while contributing to the overall taste and experience.

Impact and Reception of DRC’s T1DS Series

The T1DS Series has created ripples in the medical and patient community. But what do the users and professionals actually say?

Discussing Diabetes Users’ Perspectives

Users praise the series for its accessible and engaging format. They see it as a trusty roadmap, guiding them through the often-overwhelming terrain of diabetes management.

Medical Professionals’ Perspectives

Medical professionals appreciate the series as a valuable adjunct to clinical care, enhancing patient understanding and engagement. It’s like adding a turbo booster to their efforts in supporting patients.

The Future of DRC’s T1DS Series

So, where is DRC’s T1DS Series headed? What role will it play in the diabetes community in the future?

Discussing Diabetes and Upcoming Developments

With the Series’ increasing popularity, the DRC plans to expand the program, adding more diverse modules and content. It’s like expanding a thriving city, adding new districts and amenities to cater to its growing population.

The Role of DRC’s T1DS Series in the Diabetes Community

The T1DS series is expected to continue playing a critical role in the diabetes community. It’s like the town hall of a community – a vital hub of resources, support, and connection.

Conclusion: DRC’s T1DS Series and the Fight Against Diabetes

In conclusion, the DRC’s T1DS Series offers a groundbreaking, comprehensive approach to understanding and managing Type 1 Diabetes. As the series grows, its impact on the lives of people with diabetes is expected to increase, transforming it from a disease to be feared into a condition to be managed.


1. What is DRC’s T1DS Series?

DRC’s T1DS Series is a comprehensive program that provides information, strategies, and support for managing Type 1 Diabetes.

2. Who can benefit from the DRC’s T1DS Series?

Anyone with Type 1 Diabetes or caregivers of such individuals can benefit from the series.

3. How has DRC’s T1DS Series impacted users?

Users have reported feeling more knowledgeable, confident, and supported in managing their diabetes.

4. What do medical professionals say about DRC’s T1DS Series?

Medical professionals view the series as a valuable supplement to clinical care, helping to improve patient understanding and engagement.

5. What is the future of DRC’s T1DS Series?

The DRC plans to expand the T1DS Series, adding more diverse content and resources to better serve the diabetes community.

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds is a new campaign where those with type one diabetes (T1D) in the DRC community share their thoughts and personal anecdotes in response to lifestyle articles related to T1D care and management.

DRC’s Development Assistant, Hannah Gebauer, and one of DRC’s interns, Lauren Grove, wrote several blogs responding to different lifestyle articles revolving T1D and different experiences with the disease, such as mental health, going to the beach, and cooking! Look below to find an article you may be interested in and its URL link:

Click HERE to view a blog Discussing Diabetes during the pandemic.

Click HERE to view a blog Discussing Diabetes and coping with stress.

Click HERE to view a blog Discussing Diabetes and diabetic burnout.

Click HERE to view a blog about T1D and going to the beach.

Click HERE to view a blog about T1D and being in a relationship.

Click HERE to view a blog about T1D and cooking a diabetic-friendly recipe.

*This is the first series of blogs in response to T1D lifestyle articles. There will be more in the future.

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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds


When I saw Gretchen Otte’s recipe for “Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Basil Sauce” on Beyond Type 1’s website, I had to try it. As a type 1 diabetic who loves pasta, zucchini noodles have become a staple in my diet. They’re low-carb, very filling, and a perfect canvas for a delicious sauce. I tested out Beyond Type 1’s recipe for dinner, adding my own little spin onto it. Click here for the full recipe on Beyond Type 1’s recipe or scroll to the bottom to see the recipe with my adjustments! 

For the sauce, I added avocado, dried basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to a bowl. The recipe calls for a food processor, but as a college student living in a poorly equipped apartment, I had to improvise. I used a fork and mashed up the mixture, which worked perfectly. After tasting the sauce, I added in two tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese to increase the savory flavor, and I zested the lemon to make the sauce “pop.” 

Then I started the zucchini noodles. There are a few things I changed at this point in the recipe. First, the noodles in the recipe are supposed to be cold. However, I don’t enjoy the texture of uncooked zucchini noodles, so I decided to cook my noodles. The recipe also gives instructions on how to make homemade noodles, but I used Trader Joe’s frozen zucchini spirals instead. There are only 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and they’re super easy to make: take them out of the box, put them in a saute pan, and let them heat up. As the noodles thaw, they will start to leak water, so I recommend draining them every so often. Cook them until they’re al dente. 

I stirred my sauce into the zucchini noodle pot and chopped up the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves to top off the dish. I also added a handful of crushed roasted almonds to give a little crunch and a few slices of grilled chicken for some extra protein. 

This dish was so good. The avocado made the sauce taste so indulgent even though it was super healthy. I ended up eating basically the whole bowl. And, even better news: two hours after eating it, my blood sugar levels stayed completely stable. This was rare for me, as my blood sugar levels love to rise in the evening. 

For an easy, nutritious, and delicious dish that is also type 1 diabetic-friendly, I highly recommend Beyond Type 1’s zucchini noodle recipe. 


Serves 2

Carbohydrates per serving: 16 grams 


For the avocado-basil sauce:

1 avocado

1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 

2 cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced

½ teaspoon salt. 


For the zucchini noodles:


1 package Trader Joe’s zucchini spirals 

1 cup cherry tomatoes 

Small handful crushed roasted almonds

½ cup fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste



  • Mash avocado in a bowl until smooth. Add basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
  • Place the zucchini spirals in a sauté pan on high heat and cook until al dente. Drain excess water. 
  • Mix the sauce into the sauté pan with the zucchini noodles. 
  • Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and crush the roasted almonds with the back of a spoon. Serve the zucchini noodles with the tomatoes, almonds, and fresh basil leaves on top.


This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is responding to the article, “Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Basil Sauce.” 

Lauren Grove


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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds


If you have type 1 diabetes (T1D) and are in a relationship, your partner has type 4 diabetes (this is not a real thing, just something my family and I made up. I should also note that parents have type 3 diabetes). This week I read JDRF’s article, “Type 1 Diabetes and Committed Relationships,” and thought I would take a crack at my personal journey through T1D with my significant other. While one might assume that my friends and family genuinely know my experiences, struggles, and successes, no one knows them better than the man who gets out of bed at 3 AM to get me a juice because I am low or knows when I need to change my site before I do.  

JDRF states that cooperation and communication are key to having a stable relationship with a significant other. The organization explicitly mentions that even when I am “feeling on edge,” I should “remember that your blood sugar can affect your mood. Knowing where your blood sugar is and communicating its impact to your partner can be helpful.” My boyfriend knows the difference between a low blood sugar and high blood sugar based on how I behave. When we first met, it was a struggle to communicate what exactly I was feeling, but telling him how he could help gave him more control and allowed him to be more helpful to me in return. When I am high, my boyfriend realizes that my communication is more bark than bite and laughs it off or gives me the space I need to just wait out the pain. He can’t help me physically lessen the discomfort of a high blood sugar, but he can help me by being understanding and not pushing. 

I can’t emphasize this enough, but no T1D wants to be told how to manage their health, especially from a non-diabetic. My boyfriend does not push me to test my blood sugar more, doesn’t berate me when I eat another piece of pizza, or lectures me on wearing my CGM more consistently. He does remind me that I probably should test a little more frequently after having the extra pizza and also mentions that I could eat a bunch of pizza and not be annoyed with how often I am testing if I just put my CGM on. This is where another topic that JDRF touches on comes to play; compromise. When my boyfriend makes these suggestions, I take them seriously. He always says he wants me to be the healthiest I can be so that we can be together for a long time. So even though I don’t love wearing my CGM 100% of the time, I think about how much easier it is on both of us when I have it on because maybe I can catch that low blood sugar before my numbers drop too quickly and he doesn’t need to get up in the middle of the night to get me juice. The article mentions, “… with type 1 diabetes your partner may feel that they are making more compromises than you are.” A lot of us don’t want to be a burden on our significant other, but having T1D is already a compromise, in my opinion. What I think works best is finding the rhythm that suits your relationship and having a LOT of open communication. 

If you are the significant other to a T1D, please try to be supportive and understanding. T1D is not a disease that you can turn off or decide you aren’t going to deal with for a few hours. It’s a full-time job, and it requires some help. Ensure you are educated by asking questions and having access to resources that can also give you answers. 

This blog was written by Hannah Gebauer, DRC’s Development Assistant, who has had T1D for 17 years and is responding to the article, Type 1 Diabetes and Committed Relationships.

Hannah Gebauer

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Gluten and T1D Children

Could Gluten Intake Impact Type 1 Diabetes Risk in Children?

Scientists know that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is caused by the immune-mediated destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells. However, what they do not know is what exactly causes this process to occur. Many agree that it may be the result of both genetic and environmental factors.

recent study examined the potential impact of gluten intake on diabetes risk. The study analyzed gluten intake by women around 22 weeks of pregnancy and the gluten intake of their offspring at 18 months of age. Participation was voluntary, and data was collected by a Norwegian observational nationwide cohort study from 1999 to 2008. In total, data from 86,306 children were gathered, and throughout the duration of the study, 346 children developed T1D.

The study found no significant relationship between the amount of gluten consumed by mothers during pregnancy on the child’s T1D risk. However, it did find that children who consumed higher levels of gluten at 18 months of age may be at greater risk of T1D. Follow-up ended on April 15, 2018, or upon diagnosis of T1D, whichever came first.

Mothers filled out a food frequency questionnaire at around week 22 of their pregnancy, and then they filled out a questionnaire for their child when they reached 18 months of age. Women who were previously diagnosed with T1D or celiac disease were excluded from the study, and children who developed type 2 diabetes or who consumed more than 35 grams of gluten per day at 18 months of age. The results were adjusted to account for children who were later diagnosed with celiac disease.

Overall, 0.4% of children were diagnosed with T1D, and of those children, there was islet autoantibody information available for 76% at the time of diagnosis, and 92% were positive for at least one islet autoantibody (for insulin, glutamic acid decarboxylase, or IA2).

The results of this study differ from those of a previous study that showed material gluten intake was potentially statistically significant in terms of risk. However, the current study looked at several different factors and outcomes and adjusted data accordingly.

Additional extensive studies need to be conducted to support further or refute these findings. The result of this particular study should not be used as a basis for altering dietary recommendations for women who are pregnant or young children in order to avoid type 1 diabetes, but rather something to be taken into consideration as future studies are developed.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see what other extensive studies find concerning gluten intake and diabetes risk. Though not involved in this study, the DRC provides critical funding for early-career scientists pursuing novel research around type 1 diabetes. To learn more about current projects and how to help, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

Thank you.

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Cell Therapy and T1D

Encapsulated Cell Therapy May Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes

As scientists continue to learn more about type 1 diabetes (T1D), they are always looking for new or refined ways of treating the disease. From artificial pancreases to closed-loop systems to cell transplants, researchers are exploring numerous options.

While cell transplantation is not a new concept, it is one that has come with its share of challenges. One of the biggest obstacles is rejection, and many approaches have required long-term immunosuppression, which can cause complications itself. Another issue is cell death. Once cells have been implanted, they do not always receive the oxygen, blood supply, and nutrients needed for long-term survival.

One company is looking to change all of that. ViaCyte, a clinical-stage regenerative medicine company, has teamed up with W.L. Gore & Associates, a global materials science company, to create an encapsulated cell therapy for T1D. Pluripotent stem cells are differentiated into various pancreatic cells, then encapsulated in a special material that may help to “reduce the foreign body response and improve engraftment, cell survival, and function,” according to ViaCyte.

This new system is set to undergo phase 2 testing in 10 patients with T1D, with the potential to increase to up to 70 patients. Once the encapsulation system is implanted, the pancreatic cells are able to mature into beta cells, alpha cells, and other cells that naturally help control blood sugar. With both beta and alpha cells present, it helps to restore the secretion of insulin and glucagon as well. Furthermore, the materials are used to eliminate the need for immune suppression drugs by reducing foreign body response.

This is an exciting advancement in cell transplantation for T1D, and the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how the phase 2 clinical study pans out. It could eventually become a viable option for long-term treatment of the disease depending on the results of the clinical studies. The DRC, though not involved in this study, is committed to supporting T1D research by providing critical funding to early-career scientists. Learn more about current projects and how to help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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Herrath Matthias

Preserving Pancreatic Beta-Cell Function Without Full Immune System Suppression

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta-cells, thereby hampering the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose levels naturally. Some treatment efforts aimed at preserving beta-cell function rely on suppressing the immune system to prevent further destruction of cells or to protect transplanted cells.

recent study has found that a combination therapy may help protect the pancreas from attack by targeting only one part of the immune system. The therapy pairs anti-interleukin (IL)-21 antibodies with liraglutide, an FDA-approved diabetes drug. IL-21 receptors play a role in allowing T-cells into the pancreas, so the antibodies may help prevent this from occurring without impacting all T-cells within the body and affecting the entire immune system. In addition, liraglutide has been shown to protect beta-cell function, adding another layer of defense.

The combination therapy was tested adults with recent-onset type 1 diabetes in a “randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, double-dummy, double-blind, phase 2 trial.” After 54-weeks of treatment, higher levels of endogenous insulin secretion were detected in patients who had received the combination therapy instead of the placebo, but effects decreased during the 26-week follow-up period. A phase 3 trial is necessary to study the long-term safety and efficacy of the treatment.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how future clinical trials progress and what this could mean for the treatment of recent-onset type 1 diabetes and the potential preservation of beta-cell function. Though not involved in this study, the DRC provides critical funding to early-career scientists pursuing novel research around type 1 diabetes. To learn more, visit https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

*The study mentioned in this article was done at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in the lab of  Professor Matthias von Herrath, M.D. (the man featured in the image above), who serves as vice president and senior medical officer, Global Chief Medical Office, at Novo Nordisk. Matthias is also a member of DRC’s 80-member Scientific Review Committee, a  volunteer 80+ group of diabetes experts from across the country.

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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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