Preventing people from ever developing T1D is the ultimate answer. Consider polio or smallpox—neither have been cured, but effective vaccines have largely eradicated these diseases from our society.


JDRF is pursuing both primary and secondary prevention strategies.

Primary prevention means literally preventing the autoimmune attack so people never develop T1D at all.

Secondary prevention is focused on finding ways to prevent insulin dependence in individuals at risk or where the autoimmune attack on beta cells has already begun.


In the primary prevention area, JDRF has identified a number of potential triggers associated with the onset of T1D, including certain viruses. This opens the door to the development of new viral vaccines that stop these triggers and prevent the subsequent autoimmune system attack. Another effective primary prevention strategy involves developing vaccines, similar to allergy shots, that train the body’s immune system not to initiate an attack on the beta cells.

JDRF’s secondary prevention efforts are aimed at preserving beta cell function in children and adults at risk for T1D, or those who have been recently diagnosed—a critical effort, as new cases overall are growing by 4% annually and the number of kids with T1D is likely to double every 15 or 20 years.

We’re looking at several promising avenues to achieve this goal. We know that inflammation of the beta cells is one of the causes of beta cell death. Therefore, we are pursuing strategies that would alleviate this inflammation, thus helping the remaining beta cells to survive. Another route is finding therapies to help beta cells survive attack. For example, the use of autoantigen vaccines and highly targeted immunotherapies that impact only the part of the immune system associated with destroying beta cells may be effective secondary prevention strategies. In addition, we’re conducting clinical trials of drugs developed for other conditions that may help with beta cell preservation.

Both primary and secondary prevention approaches show considerable promise, but critical knowledge gaps remain. We need to make progress to screen for the risk, susceptibility, and onset of the autoimmune attack. We need to better understand how the disease progresses to allow us to develop tailored ways to intervene at various early stages to prevent insulin dependence. All this requires more funding. It will take tens of millions of dollars to continue this research and make prevention a reality. With your support, together we can change Type One into Type None.

Help turn Type One into Type None.

Availability for T1Ds:
Long term.
Current Need:
$25 million
Anticipated 5-year need:
$100 million

Every dollar will help bring us closer to a world without T1D. Please consider a donation today.

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