A female scientist examines the contents of a test tube in her lab.

JDRF’s vision is a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D)  and in the past fiscal year, through many top type 1 diabetes advances, we’ve made incredible progress toward that goal.  

Your support of our efforts is inseparable from the top type 1 diabetes advances we’ve seen in accelerating cures, improving lives, and advocacy wins for people with T1D and their loved ones. 

As we approach the end of fiscal year 2023 (FY23), let’s highlight the many  top type 1 diabetes advances we’ve seen.

Top Type 1 Diabetes Advance 1: First T1D Disease-Modifying Therapy  

In a historic moment for T1D—and one that Breakthrough T1D had a hand in from the beginning, supporting research from the 1980s on—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tzield™ (teplizumab-mzwv) for use in delaying the onset of clinical disease in at-risk individuals aged 8+. 

For the first time in history, Tzield will treat the autoimmune process behind T1D, not the symptoms, altering the course of the disease.  

Among our top type 1 diabetes advances, this is the first disease-modifying therapy—treatments that can slow, halt, or reverse the course of the disease—for T1D to be approved, but it won’t be the last.  

Additionally, months after Tzield’s FDA approval, Sanofi acquired Provention Bio, the manufacturer of Tzield.  

The acquisition brings the first T1D disease-modifying therapy available in the U.S. into the portfolio of a global leading pharmaceutical company, representing an endorsement of the potential of these types of therapies and, we hope, the opportunity to bring this life-changing therapy and others in the pipeline to more people faster.  

Tzield and breakthroughs like it put us on the pathway to finding cures and, one day, preventing T1D entirely. 

Top Type 1 Diabetes Advance 2: A Blood Pressure Drug Preserves Beta Cell Function  

A Breakthrough T1D-funded study found that children and teens newly diagnosed with T1D who took verapamil—a drug already approved to treat high blood pressure—were making more insulin one year after diagnosis than those on placebo. In other words, in the children and teens who took verapamil, more beta cells were healthier one year post T1D diagnosis than those in the children and teens who took the placebo. 

This was the second trial that found the drug can preserve beta cells in the newly onset period.  

Additional studies may be needed to further validate the results, as well as identify all benefits and potential side effects of the drug. Breakthrough T1D has the strategy to answer these and other questions. 

The finding brings us closer to our goal of having numerous disease-modifying therapies widely available for people with type 1 diabetes. 

Top Type 1 Diabetes Advance 3: Affordable Insulins for Everyone 

Breakthrough T1D and partnering organizations are supporting nonprofit pharmaceutical manufacturer Civica Rx to produce biosimilar insulin that will cost no more than $30 a vial/$55 a box of five pens, regardless of insurance status.  

One year after the Civica announcement, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi all announced reductions to the prices of their insulins—including the most used insulins, such as Humalog, NovoLog, and Lantus.  

Another big win for insulin affordability was the $35 monthly out-of-pocket co-pay cap for those on Medicare included in the Inflation Reduction Act that Breakthrough T1D fought hard to secure.  

In April, the Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs, Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced the INSULIN Act of 2023, another key step toward achieving affordable insulin for all who need it.  

The bill seeks to limit out-of-pocket insulin costs by ensuring that people with commercial insurance pay no more than $35 or 25 percent of the net price per month for at least one insulin of each type and dosage form, and includes other important provisions to help make insulin more affordable and accessible.  

You can contact your members of Congress and encourage them to support the INSULIN Act of 2023.  

Top Type 1 Diabetes Advance 4: Turbo Boosting Cell Therapies  

Breakthrough T1D is working to develop and deliver life-changing therapies that place healthy, insulin-producing beta cells back into the bodies of people with T1D. There was a lot of progress in FY23.  

Vertex, which previously acquired Semma Therapeutics, also acquired ViaCyte, bringing together the leading companies developing stem cell-based therapies for diabetes.  

Vertex is advancing a stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for T1D. It’s in human clinical trials and showing amazing results, with one participant being off insulin entirely.  

Vertex also started a trial with a new product using encapsulated stem cell-derived islets as replacement therapy, and is exploring gene-edited stem cell-based therapies—both  with the goal of eliminating the need for immunosuppressive drugs. 

Just this past April, Aspect Biosystems—an industry leader in 3D bioprinting technology—and Novo Nordiskannounced a partnershipto expand the development of a new class of treatments for diabetes and obesity, using Aspect’s bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s expertise in stem cell and cell therapy development. 

The Aspect-Novo Nordisk partnership’s initial focus will be on developing bioprinted therapies for transplant that would be designed to maintain normal blood-sugar levels without the need for immunosuppression. This could represent a transformative treatment for people living with T1D. 

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CellTrans’s Lantidra™, the first cell therapy to be authorized in the United States, for use in adults unable to approach average blood glucose levels due to current, repeated episodes of severe low blood sugar. This therapy, which requires the use of immunosuppressive drugs, takes deceased donor islets and places them into people with T1D suffering from repeated severe low blood-sugar, called hypoglycemia, events. This is an exciting first. 

Approved! Numerous T1D Management Technologies

Breakthrough T1D funds research to facilitate the development of new therapies and technologies to make day-to-day life with T1D easier, safer, and healthier. In the past year, we saw: 

Newly-Approved Artificial Pancreas (AP) Systems and Algorithms 

 Newly-Approved Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems  

A New Tool to Accurately Diagnose Type 1 in Adults 

Misdiagnosing adults with T1D as having T2D is an all-too-common problem that can have tragic consequences. Breakthrough T1D and IQVIA teamed up to develop an algorithm using artificial intelligence to examine medical records and identify individuals who were diagnosed with T2D but actually have T1D. This could be used in real time to correct misdiagnoses, offering the potential for future development into a clinical decision support tool. 

A First-of-its-Kind Lifesaving Tool: The T1D Index  

Breakthrough T1D and other T1D-related organizations launched the T1D Index, a first-of-its-kind data simulation tool that offers the most accurate estimate of T1Dever created. The Index measures and maps how many people live with this condition in every country, the healthy years of life it takes from people living with T1D, the number of people who would still be alive today if they hadn’t died prematurely from T1D complications, and our global strategy to reduce the impact of T1D. 

Go Forward 

Your partnership has been crucial to these advances and many more. On behalf of our community, thank you for moving us forward and ever closer to a world without T1D.  

We are excited for the top type 1 diabetes advances that fiscal year 2024 (FY24) will bring! 

Read Past Blogs about Top Type 1 Diabetes Advances: 

What We Can Be Proud of in 2022 

Celebrating the Best of 2021 

What We Can Be Proud Of in 2020 

Top 10 T1D Breakthroughs of 2019