Jeremy Pettus, an endocrinologist at UC San Diego

Insulin is the reason that Jeremy Pettus, M.D., an endocrinologist at the University of California San Diego, is alive. He’s had type 1 diabetes (T1D) since he was 15. But “we’ve been too focused on it,” he says. “There’s a need to develop other therapies to help people get their glucose under control.”

Insulin, for people without T1D, is secreted by beta cells in the pancreas. But there’s also glucagon, which is secreted by alpha cells. In people with T1D, the pancreas stops producing insulin, but glucagon dysregulation is a core defect, too. The glucagon hormone is not released when it is needed, and is released when it is not.

Dr. Pettus finds it fascinating, and conducts clinical trials of therapies that can restore the glucagon axis, in the hope of people using less insulin, improving their time-in-range (the amount of time that a person with diabetes spends with their blood-sugar levels in a target range—typically between 70-180 mg/dL), lowering their A1c’s, and avoiding complications.

Hear Dr. Pettus talk about his research—and get introduced to many more Breakthrough T1D-supported investigators—by watching the video below, and by visiting our site: Meet the Scientists.

JDRF’s funding enables promising scientists, like Jeremy, to focus their talent, ambition, and passion on improving life for those with T1D. Learn more about the researchers we fund, and learn how you can support their work to prevent, treat, and—one day—find cures for T1D.