Preventing Type 1 Diabetes

JDRF is continually striving to improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, with the ultimate goal of delivering a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

For those who are at risk of developing type 1 diabetes or are at the very early stages of disease progression, JDRF is working on creating a viable vaccine or therapy to prevent the disease.

Prevention of type 1 diabetes is urgent - the incidence of type 1 diabetes has been increasing for the last three to four decades in Australia, the United States and Europe, and it is now being diagnosed much earlier in life. Individuals who had been previously considered to be at low-moderate genetic risk are now also starting to develop type 1 diabetes, suggesting that there is now a lower threshold for developing the disease.

Prevention of type 1 diabetes represents a “cure” for those at risk of developing the disease, and research progress in this field has been steady based on three developments.

• An improved understanding of both the type 1 diabetes disease processes and the natural history of the onset of type 1 diabetes during childhood

• The ability to screen for the risk of developing type 1 diabetes and to stage more precisely progression of the disease from the initial onset of autoimmunity to insulin dependence

• The development of successful therapeutic interventions that can preserve residual beta cell function in recent onset type 1 diabetes and that can now be applied to prevention

JDRF’s "Prevent" research priorities in FY14 focus on:

• Discovering and validation of biomarkers to monitor risk and progression of T1D
• Using large natural history studies to define the stages of disease
•Developing vaccines that target the autoimmune attack and stop T1D even after the body has launched its autoimmune attack