There have been many great strides as it relates to the advancement of diabetes research. For the last twenty-five years, the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), a designated funding program that enables the expansion of type 1 diabetes research and clinical trials, has supported life-changing research. On Tuesday, July 11, the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations held the hearing, “Accelerating Breakthroughs: How the Special Diabetes Program is Creating Hope for those Living with Type 1 Diabetes". Leading diabetes experts and those with first-hand experience living with the condition shared their thoughts on the many advancements this program has allowed, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.
In addition to the moving testimonies, one highlight of the hearing was Michigan Senator Gary Peters sharing information on the progress being made here at the University of Michigan with special mention of the Caswell Diabetes Institute. Our Center of Excellence was recognized for its efforts to identify new ways of controlling diabetes. In addition, Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director of the NIDDK, also noted that we serve as a co-lead on the diabetic foot consortium, led by CDI faculty Dr. Rodica Pop-Busui, while also spotlighting the important efforts of the Michigan Center for Diabetes and Translational Research which works to implement new biomedical findings into actual practice. Currently, U-M is the #1 recipient of NIDDK funding, receiving the highest amount of research dollars from the institute.
Dr. Rodgers also provided key insight into new technologies and treatments, one of which is the new FDA-approved medicine, teplizumab, which remarkably delays the onset of Type 1 diabetes for nearly 3 years.
"I can sleep better at night, and so can my parents, because of SDP research." - Elise Cataldo, JDRF 2023 Congress Delegate
Powerful testimony included that of Elise Cataldo, JDRF 2023 Congress Delegate. Currently 15 years old, Elise was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 18 months. She shared that her life with diabetes is vastly different today than when diagnosed, thanks to the tools presently available. She stated: "I currently use an insulin pump that has an algorithm called Control IQ that gives me more insulin when I need it, and it decreases the amount of insulin I get to help prevent dangerous low blood sugars." As an active soccer player, maintaining a proper blood sugar is extremely important to Elise, along with 244,000 other Americans under the age of 20 currently living with Type 1. The Special Diabetes Program funded the clinical trial for the algorithm, the clinical trial led to its FDA approval, which thankfully now affords Elise and others to live relatively "normal” lives.
The many demonstrations of support for diabetes-related research showcased during this senate hearing further substantiate the important work of the Caswell Diabetes Institute and our goal to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure diabetes.
Click here to view a recording of the hearing.