Clinical Trial Research for Diabetes Medication

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • For many of us living with all forms of diabetes, hearing about extraordinary new prospects for treatment and a cure can become frustrating at the very least. For families who have to watch a loved one struggle to avoid complications, and through no fault of their own suffer from this disease, action cannot come fast enough!


    When I know people are going through this, it lights a fire in my belly to help find the answer to feeling better. The good and the bad of the situation is that research is sitting out there that could make a difference to avoid problems...but why does it take so long?

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    Laboratory researchers struggle as much as we do in getting their projects from the petri dish to human trials. Not only do laboratories have to develop money to fund their research, but they often have to spend time negotiating the process of working with the FDA and dealing with Washington bureaucracy to get their research from their labs to the marketplace.  They must develop relationships with potential buyers of their research, i.e., the pharmaceutical companies.  All of this legwork can take valuable time away from the project.  If financial resources are not available to hire more staff to work on all of these different but important areas, it slows down process for the research getting to the people who need it.


    Over the years, I would hear about groundbreaking research, but it would be a long time before this groundbreaking research would come to the public and so I often felt discouraged. In 2006, JDRF started a program called the Industry Discovery and Development Program, or IDDP, which focused on funding academic laboratory research with an accelerated process of bringing it to the marketplace. Through creating a partnership with JDRF, labs could gain funds to continue progress, while JDRF would send out its foot soldiers to develop the pathway for these projects to make it to the public.


    How successful has this program been? In 2004, JDRF had only 5 clinical trials and no industry partners; today, there are 47 clinical trials and 27 industry partners.  In fact, their partnerships are so many that local chapters are opening volunteer positions to help educate board members and families about all the research currently happening.  This is my new job with my local board.  And, let me tell you, I have my work cut out for me!  There are 5 areas of focus: metabolic control, complications, autoimmunity, regeneration and replacement. As I learn about the research, I will be post the information. In the spring, Dr. Cogen covered SmartInsulin, and last week I covered part of the Artificial Pancreas Project. I'll keep those updated as well.


    If I can offer anyone a sense of calm in this storm, let it be this: there is a great deal of promise in many areas of research, some funded by JDRF and some from other companies and countries.  Research is closing the gap between living with a disease that leaves you ill and one you can live with for a lifetime without complication. It seems everyday we have new breakthroughs that are meaningful! 


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    My father's JDRF responsibility in the 1970s was to bring researchers from around the world together to work toward a common goal of better diabetes management and a cure.  Back then, breakthroughs were the development of the blood glucose meter, smaller gauged syringes and the thought that a cure for diabetes would come if they could develop a vaccine for Coxsackie B4 virus.  If my father were alive to see all of this, he would be speechless from that crazy feeling of HOPE!


Published On: November 02, 2009