JDRF Canada Has a Plan of Attack to Defeat the Monster That Burdens 300,000 Canadians


TORONTO, January 25, 2021 — As 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin in Toronto, JDRF Canada, the largest charitable funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in Canada, is launching their $100M Campaign to Accelerate to defeat the T1D monster and build upon a long legacy of outstanding Canadian diabetes research, accelerating towards cures and improving the lives of those living with T1D.

JDRF Canada’s $100M Campaign to Accelerate will renew hope that a cure is within reach for all Canadians living with T1D. It will achieve this through a multi-faceted plan of attack that drives multiple breakthrough research initiatives, such as those that accelerate development of stem-cell based therapies.

Recent research has demonstrated that stem cells can be used to create insulin-producing cells for transplantation into people with T1D to enable insulin independence. This type of research has put us on a path towards a cure, but it must be accelerated: more work is needed to learn how best to transplant these insulin producing cells into the body, to understand how to protect them from the immune system and to determine how to guarantee their long-term survival and function.

Another path towards a cure is that of prevention in those at risk. Clinical trials have revealed that the use of an immunotherapy drug called teplizumab can delay the onset of T1D for as long as three years in children and adults at high risk, providing the first concrete evidence that prevention of T1D may be possible. Multiple initiatives are underway around the world to determine how to roll-out universal screening programs to identify who is at risk. With continued investment, we can capitalize on recent progress and work towards completely preventing the disease.

“The launch of our $100M Campaign to Accelerate is monumental in the lives of Canadians living with type 1 diabetes,” says Dave Prowten, President and CEO of JDRF Canada. “While the discovery of insulin in Canada 100 years ago saved millions of lives, it is still not a cure. It is fitting that now is the time to map out the next era of discovery in type 1 diabetes research. Through our Campaign to Accelerate, we will transform our approach to research, redesigning it for speed to give Canadians hope for freedom from type 1 diabetes.”

The Campaign will rally volunteers from coast to coast to invest $100 million over the next five years to bring innovative and life-changing therapies to patients and families faster, and to ensure that Canadians living with T1D have greater access to lifesaving technology and mental health supports that help more people thrive despite their condition.

People and families living with T1D know all too well that this condition can feel like living with a monster on your back. “Lots of children are afraid of monsters, but only some have actually experienced one – like my son. He lives with type 1 diabetes, a relentless monster that is always there, ready to pounce – whether he is enjoying a snack or playing with friends. We must constantly be on high alert. The Campaign to Accelerate is putting a multi-faceted plan in place that can attack this monster from every angle, and we are inviting all Canadians to help us in accelerating the pace of type 1 diabetes research.” Ryan MacDonald, Campaign to Accelerate, Campaign Co-Chair

“As a parent of a 40-year-old daughter living with type 1 diabetes, there is nothing harder than watching your child struggle with this relentless monster that requires multiple, daily injections just to temporarily fend it off. One hundred years ago, we found a way to tame this monster with the discovery of insulin. Now it is time for us to defeat it for good and the Campaign to Accelerate, coupled with philanthropic support from Canadians, will get us there quicker.” Peter Oliver, Campaign to Accelerate, Campaign Co-Chair

The six key funding priorities of the $100M Campaign to Accelerate are to:

  • Accelerate the pace of breakthrough Canadian T1D research through the JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes
  • Collaborate with researchers across the globe on high-impact trials and projects
  • Launch the first JDRF Centre of Excellence in Canada, focused on cure research
  • Promote investment in commercial development of new T1D drugs and devices through venture philanthropy
  • Ensure Canadians living with T1D have greater access to affordable and lifesaving technology
  • Expand mental health supports for those living with T1D

T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.

There are no therapies available yet to prevent the disease, and currently, there is no cure. In Canada, the number of new cases of T1D is increasing annually by ~5 per cent versus a rate of ~3 per cent around the globe, and we do not know why.

To learn more about the $100M Campaign to Accelerate, visit jdrf.ca/accelerate


About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $3 billion CAD in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, governments, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout Canada and six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D.  For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.

Media Contact:
Vanessa Parent
National Bilingual Marketing and Communications Specialist
JDRF Canada




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