EDITORIAL: Diabetes research

By NEMS Daily Journal

Type I diabetics – people with what’s more commonly called juvenile diabetes – can draw encouragement from an appropriation for research championed by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., to provide $300 million for work on cures and treatments for the disease during the next two budget cycles.
Cochran, a longtime supporter of juvenile diabetes research and other medical research funded at least partially with federal money, led efforts in the Dec. 10 passage of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010. President Obama signed the bill into law Dec. 15.
The Special Diabetes Program was backed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a national advocacy group in which many Mississippians are active.
The two-year extension of the SDP provides $300 million for type 1 diabetes research ($150 million per year for two years) and passage avoided a 35 percent cut in federal support for type 1 diabetes research.
“JDRF is grateful to Sen. Cochran for being a champion for this important program, which provides hope for better treatments and a cure for families in Mississippi and across the nation who are affected by diabetes,” said Jeffrey Brewer, JDRF President and CEO. “The incidence of diabetes is rising. And a recent CDC modeling study predicts that one in three Americans will be living with diabetes by the year 2050.”
The Centers for Disease Control calculates that 10.9 percent of Mississippi’s population has diagnosed diabetes (Type 1 and Type II) with the most recently reported cost set at $1.77 billion per year. Nationwide, 24 million Americans live with diabetes, costing the U.S. economy $174 billion. The overall diabetes rate in Mississippi is the nation’s highest. Type 2 diabetes, usually called adult onset, is related to lifestyle factors. About 24,500 type 1 diabetics live in Mississippi.
Juvenile diabetes’ origins remain unclear, but significant progress has been made in identifying causes and treatment beyond the insulin therapy that is required daily to sustain life.
The Special Diabetes Program, founded in 1997, has been renewed five times.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, 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.
Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, including more than $107 million last year.
For more information, visit www.jdrf.org.