Type 1 Diabetes Findings From the JDRF Conference


Researcher George King, MD, presented data at the annual JDRF conference, showing that individuals with type 1 diabetes still have the ability to produce insulin.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) annual conference featured presentations from several key studies, including findings from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, MA. Researcher George King, MD, director of the center and the study, presented data showing that individuals with type 1 diabetes, even those affected by it for more than 50 years, still have the ability to produce insulin. He reported that around 30% of patients in the study who had been living with diabetes for more than 50 years were unaffected by commonly seen complications commonly, such as eye, nerve, or kidney disease. These findings may help improve potential type 1 diabetes treatments.

Director of the JDRF Gene Therapy Center for Diabetes and Diabetic Complications at the University of Florida and University of Miami, Mark Atkinson, MD, also presented preliminary findings from the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPod). In his presentation, Dr. Atkinson stated that “contrary to common dogma, what we’ve learned so far is that pancreata from subjects with long-standing type 1 diabetes have insulin positive beta cells and some have many intact islets. This finding gives hope for islet cell regeneration or restoration.”

Several presenters expressed the opinion that diabetes research is rapidly changing as technology and clinical research is expanding.

“Much of what we’ve known regarding the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes has dated back to studies performed with the human pancreas in the 1970s before microwaves, the Internet and cell phones, and before modern day medical research technology. Now we’re looking at this disease in whole new ways,” said Atkinson in the foundation’s press release.

In recognition of his work, Dr Atkinson was presented with an award of excellence by the foundation, along with Michael Haller, MD, professor of pediatrics and a researcher; and Desmond Schatz, MD, medical director of the UF Diabetes Center of Excellence and associate director of the General Clinical Research Center.

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