“More funds for T1D research”: Kaleb Dahlgren talks #TeamT1D

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With Kids for a Cure Lobby Day just a few weeks away, we’re getting ready to head to Ottawa with our delegates.

During their trip, they’ll be meeting with Canada’s decision-makers to help them understand the daily challenges they face in living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), bringing home the importance of accelerating progress towards a cure, developing new treatment options and improving access to new diabetes drugs and devices.

People all across Canada are helping us get loud about type 1 diabetes sharing their message to Canada’s decision-makers using the hashtag #TeamT1D.

One of them is Kaleb Dahlgren, former Junior A level hockey player with the Humbolt Broncos, founder of Dahlgren’s Diabeauties and JDRF Ambassador.

Kaleb has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was four years old, and he’s now joining the #TeamT1D initiative by sharing his thoughts on misconceptions about T1D and the role the Canadian government can play in supporting those living with it.

Primary sponsor Lobby Day

What’s the biggest misconception people have about type 1 diabetes?

The biggest misconception with type 1 diabetes is that you develop it from unhealthy eating/lifestyle and that you are not able to do the things you were doing before because of it. Both of those are false!

You’ve become a big advocate for the T1D community through the Dahlgren’s Diabeauties program. What would you say to someone who’s just been diagnosed?

You will get used to managing your diabetes and it does become easier. Don’t let people tell you cannot do/achieve things with diabetes…it is NOT true! Make sure you manage your diabetes and do not let it manage you!

What should the Canadian government do to support those living with type one diabetes?

They should fund all diabetic supplies for type 1 diabetics; all insulin, needles, pumps, CGM’s, etc., should be covered. Effective treatment of type 1 diabetes decreases the potential of health complications and hospital admissions. Lower hospital admissions mean less burden on taxpayers and better quality of life for the person with diabetes.

Technology has really changed the way diabetes is managed, however, it is not available to everyone due to cost, this is unfair and should be available for all people with type 1 diabetes.

The Government should allocate more money for T1D research. JDRF is doing a great job but cannot do it alone. A cure is right around the corner and with more funding, we can turn type one into type none.


Want to share your message with Ottawa’s decision-makers?

Post a photo or a video on social media with your message to Canada’s decision-makers using the hashtag #TeamT1D, or check out our latest Instagram story and submit your reply there!

Your message can be something as simple as why access to medical devices and treatments is important to you, the challenges associated with living with type 1 diabetes, or any other message you’d like to share with politicians in Ottawa.

We’ll be bringing these messages with us to Ottawa to help support the Kids for a Cure Lobby Day delegates and to share the stories of fellow Canadians who live with type 1 diabetes or want to see their loved ones get the support they deserve.

Let’s get loud for #TeamT1D!

An insulin pill for type 1 diabetes

Administering multiple insulin injections is one of the many daily burdens for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) – particularly among those with a needle phobia. However, a team of scientists is hoping to change all that with the development of an insulin pill to manage the condition.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Cambridge, MA, have created a pill with a complex coating designed to shield the insulin from the acidic environment of the stomach and only dissolve in the small intestine. While other investigators have experimented with oral therapy in the past, many were unsuccessful because the pills failed to safely carry insulin beyond the barriers of the digestive system and into the bloodstream.

"Once ingested, insulin must navigate a challenging obstacle course before it can be effectively absorbed into the bloodstream," explains senior study author, Dr. Samir Mitragotri, in an interview with Medical News Today.

Insulin delivered orally is a preferable alternative because it has the ability to reach the blood in a way comparable to the natural release of insulin by the pancreas, while also lessening the adverse effects associated with repeated insulin injections.

Easily manufactured and not readily perishable, the new pill would be more cost-effective than other therapies and could also be stored for up to two months at room temperature.

Further studies will be conducted in animal models, followed by clinical trials in humans. Researchers are confident that oral insulin delivery would revolutionize T1D treatment and significantly improve the quality of life of people with diabetes worldwide.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog

A white blood cell type may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes

A researcher from Milan, Italy has discovered that neutrophils – a type of white blood cell that forms an essential part of the immune system – can help identify triggers and predictors of progression to type 1 diabetes (T1D).

In collaboration with TrialNet (an international network of researchers focused on understanding, prevention and treatment of T1D), Dr. Manuela Battaglia of the Ospedale di San Raffaele Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico analyzed the blood tests of 389 people at risk for the disease and discovered that those with a smaller amount of neutrophils have fewer functioning beta cells.

“Essentially, the lower the number of circulating neutrophils the less the body can produce insulin,” explains Dr. Battaglia.

Further analyses of pancreatic samples collected from donors all over the world at four different disease stages revealed that neutrophils release their nucleus’ content, including their DNA, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk of autoimmunization.

Working with the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle, Dr. Battaglia and her colleagues observed abnormal content in the types and amounts of protein made among circulating neutrophils in individuals at risk for T1D. It was also noted that this behaviour led to the production of specific T1D-autoantibodies indicating that neutrophils may play a crucial role in the early stages of the disease.

Future work will focus on understanding why neutrophils are predictive of T1D, and whether targeting neutrophils can slow or stop its progression.

Dr. Battaglia has been funded by JDRF since 2008 when she was an early career scientist. She has received two subsequent grants to study the role of immunological cells in T1D.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog

Your Disability Tax Credit claim: An update

by Patrick Tohill, Government Relations Director at JDRF

 Were you among those denied the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) between May and December of 2017? Have you heard from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about your claim? If you’re still waiting, you may need to reach out to the CRA to follow up.

JDRF was thrilled last December when the Minister of National Revenue announced a review of all diabetes claims disallowed last year. A controversial directive and new clarification letter issued in early May of 2017 made it essentially impossible for adults with diabetes to qualify for the DTC unless they had one or more chronic conditions in addition to their diabetes.

This spring, CRA reported to the new Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) on the results of their review. Of 2,367 claims that were reviewed, the DTC was restored for 1,326 Canadians with diabetes. This leaves 941 whose claims remain disallowed following the review.

This is obviously great news for those who’ve regained their DTC eligibility. What some may not realize is that you need to ask CRA for an adjustment of your tax return in order to obtain a refund; a matter of some inconvenience. For info on how to request an adjustment (reassessment) of your tax return see the CRA website.

That said, it is a relief I’m sure for these claimants to see the DTC restored, particularly for those who stood to lose government contributions to their Registered Disability Savings Plans. And these claimants at least have been notified of the outcome of the CRA’s review.

That leaves 941 Canadians with diabetes whose Disability Tax Credit (DTC) claims remain disallowed following the review. JDRF has been in communication with officials in CRA’s benefits directorate over the past few months and it seems that CRA has no intention to notify these claimants.

We are very concerned that these individuals may not be aware that CRA’s process has concluded. We believe that they too should be notified so that they might avail themselves of the appeal processes that would normally be available to them.

We’re also curious to know more about the reasons given for these disallowances. If you fall into this camp, we’d love to hear from you. Please send an email to advocacy@jdrf.ca or contact 1-877-297-3533 ext. 2003

At the end of the day, JDRF is grateful for the action the government took in initiating this review and restoring the DTC for more than a thousand Canadians with diabetes. However, we have some concerns about the large number of claims that remain disallowed, and the fact that people aren’t being notified.

Finally, there still seem to be too many restrictions around eligibility. Fixing what’s wrong with the DTC and RDSP is a big part of JDRF’s Pre-Budget Recommendations this year and will be a big part of our Kids for a Cure Lobby Day at the end of October. You can help support our campaign. Write to the Finance Minister today.

For those who missed it, a new Senate report was released last week called Breaking Down Barriers: A critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan with a series of 16 recommendations aimed at fixing some of the long-standing problems that prevent Canadians with disabilities (including chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes), from accessing the DTC and RDSP.

JDRF has welcomed the report and is broadly supportive of the recommendations. Parents of children with type 1 diabetes as well as adults living with the disease who’ve invested in RDSPs will be pleased with the senators’ recommendation that the period of time between when contributions to RDSPs are made and when they can be withdrawn be reduced to 5 years from 10.  

Also included within the senate’s recommendations are two or three ideas that stem from JDRF’s testimony back in February. For example, the report includes a recommendation that investments and government contributions to RDSPs not be clawed back if the person was eligible for DTC when the investments were made, as well as another that all eligibility criteria for the DTC be reviewed. The report specifically mentions the 14 hour per week rule which JDRF has recommended be reduced to 10 hours, though we’d be happy to see it nixed completely.

One particular amendment we’d like to see in terms of eligibility criteria concerns the exclusion of carbohydrate calculation, which makes absolutely no sense. As anyone with type 1 will tell you, you simply cannot calculate insulin dosage, something that’s included as an eligible activity in the 14 hours, without first calculating the number of carbohydrates you’re consuming.

Unfortunately, Canada Revenue Agency wrongly considers carbohydrate calculation to fall under the category of a dietary restriction and has deemed it to be excluded under the Act. As a result, an application that mentions 280 minutes a week spent determining insulin dosage will be approved and an application mentioning 280 minutes a week calculating carbs will be denied.

JDRF has joined with Diabetes Canada in preparing a joint submission on carb calculation which we’ve submitted to the Disability Advisory Committee, the CRA and the Finance department.

Several of our recommendations around the DTC have also made their way into a Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-399, introduced by Tom Kmiec, MP for Calgary—Shepard in March. The Fairness for Canadians with Disabilities Act would “increase accessibility for disability tax credit for Canadians living with diabetes as well as those with rare disorders”.

We continue our efforts to advocate on behalf of the T1D community. You can help. Check out the Advocacy section of our website, support our online actions and sign up to receive our emails.