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JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust Form a Collaboration to Accelerate Innovative Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development
Date:11/2/2011

NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- JDRF and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, two of the largest non-government funders of type 1 diabetes (T1D) programs, announced today that they have formalized a collaboration that will foster a new level of cooperation between the organizations. The goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the pace of research and development to deliver better treatments, devices, and diagnostics for improving the lives of people with T1D. The first two co-funded grants as part of the collaboration were also announced today.

"JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust developed a close working relationship around type 1 diabetes projects over the past several years, highlighting our common commitment to this disease," says Jeffrey Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF. "This new collaboration strengthens our existing relationship through information sharing, streamlining, and integrating funding strategies and combining resources in those areas of type 1 diabetes where we have identified strong shared interests."

"Since 2007, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has provided $14 million to support JDRF projects for type 1 diabetes research and development," says David Panzirer, Helmsley Charitable Trust Trustee. "The new level of cooperation between our organizations will allow us to work more efficiently in areas of mutual interest.  By collaborating more closely, we will be able to leverage our resources and have a greater impact in fueling innovative results that improve the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes."

The first project to be supported by the new JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration is the T1D Clinical Development Research Roadmap. This program will generate a comprehensive and objective strategic plan to serve as a framework for funding decisions of clinical research involving patients with established T1D. The plan will be based on a comprehensive synthesis of knowledge regarding the current T1D clinical development landscape. The goal is to identify novel perspectives, using the available data that suggest new approaches toward achieving clinically meaningful impact in established T1D with known therapeutics. It will include strategies to effectively characterize the various stages of this disease and a review of clinical development therapy opportunities, particularly when looking at subsets of patients with T1D. The resulting plan will be shared with the T1D research and development community to serve as a common resource.

The second initiative to be supported by the collaboration is the Bioimaging Project, which is intended to develop new diagnostic technologies to non-invasively determine the presence and functional activity of insulin-producing beta cells in a person's pancreas. Known as beta cell imaging, these technologies aim to overcome one of the key challenges in the T1D field: directly assessing the cells within the pancreas that are responsible for normal insulin production. These new technologies will be an invaluable resource in multiple areas of T1D research, including early detection of diabetes; monitoring of transplanted or regenerated beta cells; monitoring certain new therapies during clinical trials; and following the progression of T1D in a person over time.

In addition, the JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration has launched a request for proposals to develop and deliver more accurate and reliable sensors that would measure a person's blood glucose (sugar) levels on a continuous basis. Building upon the successes of current continuous glucose monitoring technologies, this initiative seeks to advance these sensors to the next generation that would provide users with more accurate and reliable blood glucose measurements. Improved blood glucose sensors will enable T1D patients to make better insulin dosing decisions.

"JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust are committed to producing results that create a positive impact in the lives of individuals with type 1 diabetes today," said Dana Ball, Helmsley T1D Program Director. "This collaborative effort is intended to advance critical research and development that will translate to better treatments and devices for people with type 1 diabetes." The JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration is designed to complement existing programs for each organization. Both organizations will continue to provide, manage, and maintain independent research funding efforts.

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 the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF is to improve the lives of every person 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 $1.5 billion to T1D research. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. Past JDRF research efforts have helped to significantly improve 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. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.org.  

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, established in 1999, is administered by four Trustees selected by Leona Helmsley. As a continuation of Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley's generous giving throughout their lifetimes, the Trust supports a diverse range of organizations with a major focus on health and medical research, in addition to programs in human services, education, cultural access, conservation and the security and development of Israel. Since 2009, the Trust has committed over $100 million to type 1 diabetes research and programs through the Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program. For more information, please visit www.helmsleytrust.org


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SOURCE Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
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