JDRF Thanks Congress for Support of the Special Diabetes Program

JDRF Thanks Congress for Support of the Special Diabetes Program

–The federal program provides a vital $150 million annually in support of significant research initiatives for type 1 diabetes–

Contacts: Michael Cook, 212-479-7510; mcook@jdrf.org
Tara Wilcox-Ghanoonparvar, 212-479-7524; twilcox-ghanoonparvar@jdrf.org

New York, NY, May 9, 2012-JDRF’s most urgent legislative priority in 2012 is the federal renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which funds $150 million a year in crucial research initiatives through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) toward curing, treating, and preventing type 1 diabetes (T1D).  

Thanks to the great bipartisan leadership of the co-chairs of the Senate and House diabetes caucuses, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), the SDP renewal campaign is off to a strong start. With help from passionate JDRF advocates across the country, these four lawmakers, stalwart friends of the T1D community, secured the signatures of 72 U.S. Senators and 270 House members on letters to the House and Senate leadership, documenting the SDP’s tangible and meaningful contributions to the search for better treatments and a cure for T1D. These letters are an important expression of awareness from across the political and ideological spectrum that the SDP is an effective program that is delivering value to taxpayers and, of course, T1D patients and families.

The SDP is unique because it supplements annually-appropriated NIH-research funding with a mandatory funding stream for T1D research. Currently, the SDP represents 35 percent of all the federal research on T1D. Since its establishment in 1997, the SDP has been renewed by Congress five times, and has produced concrete scientific and clinical results, and real returns on the federal investment in T1D research. Continued funding allows research to build upon the program’s earlier advances, giving initial discoveries an opportunity to be translated into possible preventions, better treatments, and cures. From funding research toward better treatments for diabetic eye disease to support for the development of a safe and effective artificial pancreas, the SDP’s contributions to diabetes research have been key to a number of important advances.

JDRF is grateful to all those who signed the letters to the Senate and House, and especially to the leadership within the diabetes caucuses. Links to the letters can be found here: letter to Senate; letter to House.

We will post updates on JDRF.org as the campaign for renewal of the SDP continues in the months ahead. If you would like to become involved in the campaign by letting your legislators know about the importance of the SDP, sign up to be a JDRF advocate here or at advocacy.jdrf.org, or text “action” to 37420.

About T1D

In T1D, a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. People with T1D need to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin (with injections or an insulin pump) multiple times every day, and carefully balance insulin doses with eating and daily activities throughout the day and night. However, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, and even with that intensive care, a significant portion of the day is still spent with either high or low blood sugar, placing people with T1D at risk for devastating complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, and amputation.

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.