On January 1, 2013, JDRF had an extra reason to celebrate the New Year when the United States Congress passed a one-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). Thanks to JDRF advocates, volunteers, and staff, the National Institutes of Health will receive an additional $150 million specifically for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.
The continuation of this key government program was JDRF’s top legislative priority for the year. The SDP represents nearly 35 percent of federally funded T1D research in the United States. Since its inception in 1997, the SDP has supported remarkable advancements toward life-changing therapies and a cure for T1D. The funding has, for example, helped accelerate progress in the Artificial Pancreas Project and contributed to the development of a vision-improving treatment for people with diabetic eye disease.
In his acceptance speech as a recipient of JDRF’s David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence in December 2012, Lloyd Paul Aiello, M.D., Ph.D., stated, “The simple fact is that, without funding from the SDP, this treatment would probably not be available today.” Dr. Aiello’s research led directly to the new drug for diabetic eye disease.
That success belongs to you as well—all of our advocates and supporters, our volunteers and staff. As Cynthia Rice, JDRF’s vice president of government relations, said, “This was our most challenging renewal ever, and we appreciate all of your extraordinary hard work and dedication. The persistence of JDRF advocates was an essential ingredient in our final success. The relationships you have forged with your elected representatives and your participation in the democratic engine—every email sent, every phone call dialed, every visit made—has an effect. That together we succeeded in our goal is further proof that your voice—every voice—counts.”
But our work is not finished yet. The SDP has been renewed for one year, which means that this year, before the end of 2013, JDRF will be advocating to Congress for a multiyear renewal of the SDP to continue current trials and launch new trials to advance research to cure, treat, and prevent T1D.
Thank you, JDRF advocates, volunteers, and staff! We look forward to another bright, productive year—and ultimately, to a world without T1D.
To learn more about the Special Diabetes Program.
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