JDRF’s CGM Research Named One of Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2008

JDRF’s CGM Research Named One of Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2008

ABC News Lists Human Clinical Trial of Continuous Glucose Monitors Among Years Most Important Advancements

Leslie Schwartz, National Director, Media Relations
Ph: 212-479-7553
E-mail: lschwartz@jdrf.org

New York, NY, January 8, 2009 — The groundbreaking human clinical trial funded by JDRF that showed that continuous glucose monitors can improve diabetes control was cited by the ABC television network as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2008.

ABCNews.com polled top medical centers and physicians in putting together its list of the past year’s most important scientific advances.  The 10 developments chosen, which ranged from JDRF’s CGM trials to advances in Alzheimer’s research and an early blood test for Down syndrome, were considered the most important scientific breakthroughs by medical practitioners and the most interesting by readers.

The JDRF CGM trial was the first major, multi-center trial to document the benefits of CGM devices in helping people with type 1 diabetes better control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of devastating complications.  CGM devices, manufactured by several companies and approved by the FDA as an adjunctive therapeutic for diabetes, are a small monitor connected to a sensor that people with diabetes wear, that provide both a real-time snapshot of the glucose levels of a person with diabetes, as well as trend information on whether glucose is moving upwards or downwards, and how fast.  The devices also provide warnings when the glucose is becoming too high or too low – both dangerous conditions.

“The recognition the CGM trial is receiving will come as no surprise to people involved with diabetes research,” said Dr. Alan Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. “These study results promise to be a cornerstone of our research into metabolic control and the development of an artificial pancreas, as it shows that these technologies can provide significant improvements in the lives of people with diabetes.”

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and kills off the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.  Without insulin, sugar from food cannot be turned into energy, accumulates in the blood stream, and can cause death.  After diagnosis, people with type 1 diabetes need to check blood sugar levels multiple times every day and give themselves multiple injections of insulin, or use a pump to infuse insulin – each day, every day, for the rest of their lives.  While insulin can help control diabetes, it does not represent a cure; and even with insulin treatment, people with diabetes have significantly increased risks for devastating complications, including kidney disease, blindness, nerve disease, and heart disease.  However, research has demonstrated that improved control reduces the risk of complications.

As many as 3 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes, with children representing half of those diagnosed each year.

The JDRF study was a randomized, controlled trial involving 322 patients spanning the age range of 8 to 72 years at 10 sites, which included academic, community, and managed care-based practices at the Atlanta Diabetes Associates, the Joslin Diabetes Center, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Nemours Children’s Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Denver, the University of Iowa, the University of Washington, and Yale University, and coordinated by the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Florida.

“The CGM clinical trial results are very important, because they show that continuous glucose monitors are tools that can substantially improve diabetes control when used regularly.  And better control can lead to a lowered risk of complications, fewer hospital visits, and importantly improved quality of life” said Dr. Aaron Kowalski, Program Director for Metabolic Control at JDRF.


About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.