Richard A. Insel, M.D., JDRF’s Chief Scientific Officer, joined other research leaders at a Congressional briefing on, “How the Research-by-Consortia Model Will Lead to Faster Cures” held recently in Washington D.C.
The briefing brought together biomedical leaders from foundations, industry, government, and academia to discuss how multidisciplinary or multiorganizational collaborative groups called consortia are accelerating biomedical progress. According to a background analysis supplied by the FasterCures organization, 387 research consortia have been launched since 1995, with 62 in 2012 alone. Approximately half of the consortia focused on solving scientific challenges specific to a disease or condition, including 21 consortia focused on diabetes research.
Dr. Insel explained that JDRF has long recognized the importance of consortia for accelerating type 1 diabetes (T1D) research progress. As the leading global organization focused on T1D, JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners in both the public and private sector who share JDRF’s research goals. JDRF has created, convened, and is proactively managing over 10 different T1D-focused research consortia in the areas of artificial pancreas, encapsulation, and the microbiome, to name a few. In addition, JDRF participates in many other consortia in the US and abroad to accelerate T1D research, including consortia created with funding from the Special Diabetes Program – a program JDRF helped champion and get renewed by Congress multiple times over the past decade.
The consortia JDRF forms are comprised of scientists and investigators from multiple disciplines and organizations who each bring a unique perspective and knowledge to a specific T1D challenge. They share their data, samples, and ideas in a collaborative manner to address the most important obstacles facing T1D research. In his remarks, Dr. Insel said, “Today, research guided by a single investigator is not enough. Consortia are addressing the most urgent biomedical needs and accelerating the timeframe for development and delivery of new therapies for T1D.” The complexity of T1D makes consortia an essential part of the process for creating a world without T1D and JDRF is uniquely positioned to create and lead these efforts.
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Dr. Insel, JDRF Chief Scientific Officer, Briefing Congress