World Diabetes Day: Latest JDRF Research Moves Closer To Curing Type 1

Report this content

2021 marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin

JDRF, the world's largest non-profit funder of type 1 diabetes research, has launched a campaign tied to World Diabetes Day, showcasing the ongoing daily burden of living with type 1 and the need for further investment into the development of exciting transformational treatments and cures.

This year marks the centenary of insulin’s discovery, a scientific breakthrough which has saved the lives of millions of people. However, managing type 1 diabetes with insulin still remains a significant burden for someone with the condition: a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections by the time they are 18, if not using an insulin pump system*.

In the run up to 14 November JDRF are highlighting lived experiences by sharing inspirational, real-life stories from the community. Supporters being spotlighted include Rebecca Redmond, relative of Sir Frederick Banting (the Nobel prize winning co-discoverer of insulin), the O’Connor family, made up of three generations living with type 1 and Muhammad Ali, the UK’s first professional boxer with type 1.

JDRF is also currently backing research into treatments that could further dramatically reduce the burden of type 1 diabetes. These include smart insulins to prevent dangerously high/low blood glucose levels, as well as therapies to preserve and replace beta cells. 

Key recent breakthroughs include:

  • AI (artificial intelligence) technology which automatically delivers insulin via an algorithm connected to a digital glucose sensor and insulin pump, coined the ‘Artificial pancreas’, is now being piloted on the NHS. 
  • Teplizumab, a ground-breaking immunotherapy underpinned by JDRF research, is currently in clinical trials. Promising first results showed it has the potential to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes – and a life of injecting insulin – for an average of three years. 
  • Vertex began a clinical trial for VX-880, a stem cell-derived therapy for use in people with type 1 diabetes this year. Latest data is extremely promising, revealing that the first person to receive this therapy now needs 91% less insulin 90 days after receiving just half the target dose.

Hilary Nathan, Director of Policy and Communications at JDRF UK said “Incredible advancements have been made in the last 100 years since the discovery of insulin. Research progress is reaching many of us, in fact nearly half of people in the UK with type 1 now have access to digital glucose sensors that avoid the need to take blood samples, for example. Yet the daily burden of managing type 1 diabetes with insulin is still highly significant and is often overlooked. Now is a pivotal time for change and the only way to achieve this is through vital research into new, groundbreaking technologies and treatments, which we predict will enable a future where people with type 1 won’t rely on a bagful of supplies to stay alive.” 

For the 400,000* resilient people living with Type 1 diabetes in the UK the bag they carry round every day is more than just a container, it's a lifeline. This World Diabetes Day JDRF are inviting people to share an image of their bag along with their story using the hashtag #BagsofResilience.

For more information visit and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @JDRFUK, @JDRF_UK, @JDRFUK


Notes to Editors:

*JDRF type 1 diabetes facts & figures

Spokespeople from JDRF are available for further comment on future/upcoming breakthroughs, as well as real life case studies of those with type 1. 

Rachel Sewell -

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organisation funding type 1 diabetes research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than £1 billion since our inception. We collaborate with the most talented minds to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with type 1 diabetes. Our staff and volunteers around the globe are dedicated to campaigning for our vision of a world without type 1 diabetes. 

For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @JDRFUK.

About type 1 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening condition that has a life-long impact on those diagnosed with it, and their loved ones.
  • It occurs when the body can no longer make a hormone called insulin. Without insulin, the body can’t use glucose  (a type of sugar) for energy, leading to exhaustion, weight loss and, ultimately, death..
  • That means that people with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive. 
  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition which cannot be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle. It can affect anyone, at any age.
  • Around 400,000 people in the UK have type 1 diabetes, 29,000 of them children.
  • A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 injections and 50,000 finger prick blood tests by the time they are 18, if not using an insulin pump system.