Only Eight in 382 Active Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Trial Projects Could Deliver a Near-Term Solution

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Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance report analyzes cure research projects that have the potential to change the lives of people with type 1.

Of the 382 active type 1 diabetes clinical trials, only eight have the potential to deliver a near-term cure, according to a new report from the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance. Assuming all trails are successful and the project received uninterrupted funding, the earliest a potential cure could be on the market is 2020.

With 15 million in the U.S. alone living with or directly affected by type 1, finding a cure should be top priority for research organizations. A cure would not only save lives, but would improve the quality of life for people with diabetes and their loved ones while curbing individual and national medical costs.

“Since only 2 percent of type 1 diabetes projects currently in clinical trials have the potential to produce a near-term, practical cure by 2025, it is clear that finding a near-term cure is not a priority for research organizations,” said Phil Shaw, general manager of the JDCA. “In working with nonprofits, researchers and donors, we seek to align funding so people living with type 1 have the best chance possible of seeing a cure.”

The report identified eight projects currently in clinical trials that have the potential to deliver a near-term type 1 cure:

  •     Diabecell is a device implanted through minor surgery that contains beta cells from pigs, allowing blood sugar in and insulin out. Since this treatment does not impact the immune system, it is unlikely to have negative side effects, but the technology does not appear to have worked yet.
  •     The Stem Cell Educator uses stem cells to allow patients to grow their own insulin and protect the immune system. This shows strong, lasting effects, but the treatment did not cure anyone in Phase I trials.
  •     The BCG Vaccine causes the body to attack “bad” killer T-cells, which theoretically would cause patients to regrow new, healthy beta cells. While the Phase I results have been debated, Phase II trials will begin this year.
  •     Sitagliptin/Lansoprazole is beginning Phase II trials and is a drug T1D patients would take post-meal for better glycemic controls. However, it is only being tested for newly diagnosed patients.
  •     The Monolayer Cellular Device is a patch that transfers islets to T1D patients. This is a minimally invasive procedure, but the lack of updated research since 2011 suggests that progress has stalled.
  •     VC-01 is a compound that would combine a pancreatic cell with an encapsulation system and then produce pancreatic cells inside the patient’s body and secrete insulin. Although the scientific community is enthusiastic about this project, cell therapy is largely unproven.
  •     DV-01 is a therapy that reprograms a patient’s dendritic cells to induce immune tolerance in children with auto-immune diseases. The FDA fast-tracked this project in 2014, but it’s unclear how applicable this will be to all diabetics.
  •     The Beta-02 is a small device that functions as a bio-artificial pancreas and is expected to complete a Phase I clinical trial in March 2016. While funding is abundant for this venture, it remains unclear whether this device would be effective and safe for people.

“There are many factors that contribute to what research get funded, and unfortunately speed to market and donor intentions are not prioritized," said Shaw. “This report serves as not only an update on which projects give people with type 1 the greatest hope, but which demand the attention of donors and nonprofits. With this information, they have the potential to vote with their dollars and demonstrate their commitment to a cure.”

For more information on the JDCA and a practical cure, visit

About the JDCA
The JDCA is an independent analyst of the type 1 diabetes charitable universe and brings a business-like perspective to help donors focus research toward a practical cure. The mission of the JDCA is to achieve a type 1 practical cure before 2025 by steering donor contributions to the most effective charities.

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Sarah Dietze
Walker Sands Communications
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