Eliminating virtually all of the daily burdens associated with mechanically managing the disease would profoundly enhance and simplify the lives of people with T1D. Moreover, by improving overall blood-glucose controls, the risks of life-threatening complications would sharply diminish, leading to longer, healthier lives.


Smart insulin is a form of insulin that circulates in the bloodstream and turns on when it’s needed to lower blood sugars and off when blood sugars are at safe levels.


In 2003, an MIT chemical engineer founded a company called SmartCells, to develop smart insulin. While others were skeptical, JDRF and its allies saw promise.

First the National Institutes of Health provided initial funding, using funds appropriated by Congress in response to JDRF’s advocacy efforts. Then, JDRF added its funding to take it to the next stage. And in 2010, the pharmaceutical company Merck acquired SmartCells. The evolution of SmartCells is powerful validation of JDRF’s strategy to support early stage therapy development to draw the capital and commercial know-how of major drug and biotech manufacturers to the T1D field.

Progress on therapies like smart insulin require scientists from a wide array of disciplines, including many who have no previous exposure to the T1D field, such as biochemists, chemical engineers, and pharmacologists.

While still years away from becoming a treatment, smart insulin will, with continued JDRF investment, become another life-changing therapy for those with T1D. But we still need tens of millions of dollars to get smart insulin into the hands of those who need it. Support our efforts and together we can change Type One into Type None.

Help turn Type One into Type None.

Availability for T1Ds:
Mid term with growing portfolio of human testing.
Current Need:
$3 million
Anticipated 5-year need:
$25+ million

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

Donate Now

Learn more

Want to know more about smart insulin and get updates about this life-changing therapy? Download our white paper and stay informed.

White Paper