For Your Attention: The Special Diabetes Program

The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) of the National Institutes of Health was established in 1997. The SDP is a key component of the federal government’s commitment to type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. There are two parts of the program: the Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. In the years since 1997, the SDP has been extended and expanded several times. To date, it has provided $1.9 billion in funds for T1D research. It is currently funded at $150 million a year through September 2013.

But all this could change. There is no guarantee that the SDP will be renewed. The only thing that is guaranteed is that a tremendous amount of support is needed to advocate on behalf of the SDP.

JDRF is leading the way to help ensure that the SDP will be extended into the coming years. The goal is to secure inclusion of SDP renewal in “must-pass” legislation in the November-December 2012 time period. So far, thanks to JDRF’s advocacy efforts, a bipartisan “super majority” of the Senate (72 senators) and House (271 representatives) have signed a supportive letter that highlights the progress achieved through SDP funding for T1D.

The next steps will be challenging, and we will need your help. If the program is not renewed, the large-scale clinical trials testing promising treatments and potential cures—trials that only the federal government has the capacity to undertake—will grind to a halt. There is no possible way that private funders like JDRF can replace the funding from SDP, and we will lose literally years in the quest for a cure, new treatments, and ways to prevent the disease altogether.

We cannot lose—please sign up now to be a JDRF advocate by clicking here.