CANADA AT THE FOREFRONT OF DIABETES RESEARCH, BRINGING INNOVATION FROM THE LAB TO THE BEDSIDE

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Canadian Clinical Trial Network announces launch of clinical trials network

TORONTO, June 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Canada has announced the official launch of its large-scale effort to support clinical trials evaluating new treatments and technologies for type 1 diabetes in Canada. The JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (JDRF CCTN) brings together the country's top physicians, scientists, researchers and innovators from leading universities, hospitals and industry to accelerate the development of treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

Created in partnership with the Government of Canada, funding for the JDRF CCTN came from a commitment of $20 million by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), with an additional $13.9 million contribution from JDRF. The $33.9 million investment will help accelerate the testing of new technologies and treatments for Canadians and individuals around the world living with type 1 diabetes and its complications.

"There are more than 3 million Canadians living with some form of diabetes - that's nearly 10 per cent of our population. And 300,000 of those individuals are living with type 1 diabetes," said Andrew McKee, President and CEO of JDRF Canada.  "JDRF has created a network to harness great Canadian and international ideas, about basic and translational science, and is developing those ideas right here in Canada, with Canadian expertise, for the benefit of everyone touched by type 1 diabetes."

The JDRF CCTN is currently comprised of leading hospitals and universities in Southern Ontario, including: The Hospital for Sick Children, and the University Health Network in Toronto; the University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute in London; and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. Robarts Clinical Trials at the University of Western Ontario serves as JDRF CCTN's Clinical Operations Centre, and the University of Waterloo serves as the Informatics Coordinating Centre.

As the Minister of State for FedDev Ontario and for Science and Technology, as well as a champion of the JDRF CCTN, the Honourable Gary Goodyear joined JDRF President and CEO Andrew McKee, to mark the official launch of the JDRF CCTN and announce the opening of the initial set of clinical trials to be implemented by the network.

"By investing in the Canadian Clinical Trial Network, we are investing in science, technology and innovation, as well as creating new jobs in clinical research," said Minister Goodyear. "These trials will bring new cures and therapies for type 1 diabetes to the marketplace, benefiting Canadians living with this illness, as well as those who could one day develop it."

The first JDRF CCTN trial is at Toronto General Hospital, of the University Health Network.  This pilot study is testing a Canadian-designed computer algorithm that seeks to optimize the basal, or resting, insulin dose rate delivered by insulin pumps. Establishing more precise dosing for basal rates will help reduce the incidence of hypoglycemia, or severe low blood sugar, among people with type 1 diabetes. If successful, this tool will have immediate impact for individuals who wear an insulin pump.

A second JDRF CCTN trial evaluates the acceptance of continuous glucose monitor (CGM) technology among adolescents with type 1 diabetes, if they are introduced to CGM at the same time as they are given insulin pumps.  Research supported by JDRF has shown that these age groups would benefit from utilizing CGM technology to control blood sugars.

In another trial, JDRF CCTN investigators are studying whether CGM technology may benefit First Nations peoples with diabetes.

The JDRF CCTN will launch several clinical trials in Southern Ontario over the coming months.  The JDRF CCTN will also facilitate opportunities for the commercialization of Canadian research ideas to directly improve the lives of Canadian patients with type 1 diabetes and their families.

About JDRF

The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults, and can be fatal.  Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump - each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its potential complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.

JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research worldwide. JDRF's mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research to date in Canada and around the world. It has raised more than $1.5 billion for type 1 diabetes research since its inception in 1970, including $107 million in 2010. JDRF raises funds in seven countries, and is funding research in 19, including over 50 human clinical trials. Over 80 percent of the funds JDRF expends support research and research-related education. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.ca.

About JDRF CCTN

The JDRF CCTN is a groundbreaking effort to accelerate made-in-Canada solutions for the management, care and cure of type 1 diabetes. The JDRF CCTN is currently developing several high-profile clinical trials, in association with leading diabetes researchers at partner universities and medical centers in Southern Ontario. The goal is to position Southern Ontario as an international hub for diabetes translational research, innovation, and commercialization of new therapeutics and enabling technologies. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.ca/cctn.

For further information:

Jennifer McEvoy, JDRF CCTN
647-789-2024
jmcevoy@jdrf.ca       
        Carolyn Carson, Hill & Knowlton
613-290-0734
carolyn.carson@hillandknowlton.ca