22 October 2014

The ARC Special Research Initiative for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes was officially launched by Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, in June at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide.;

Up to $35 million (over the next five years) has been awarded to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Australia to advance research in the critical area of diabetes.

The funding allows the development of a national collaborative research network and research programme that will work towards finding a cure for Type 1 juvenile diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a life-long auto-immune disease that usually occurs in childhood but can be diagnosed at any age. It is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and most newly diagnosed cases are in people less than 15 years old.

The funding for the new initiative will be used to significantly increase the excellence and impact of research in this field in Australia. The project will build a national capability of research excellence to tackle diabetes at a world-class standard in addition to bringing together established researchers with track records in the field.

Minister Pyne said at the launch that Australia had a proven record of progress in this difficult area of research.

“This initiative will build Australia's capacity in Type 1 juvenile diabetes research and position our researchers for national and international collaboration, delivery, adoption and investment,” Mr Pyne said.

JDRF advocate Shanna McGrath who is 17 years old, was the emcee for the launch, and said the commitment of funding for the initiative was a dream come true.

“You can't imagine that one trip to the local GP will change your life in such an extreme way. I have been living with this disease for 11 years.

“At that moment (diagnosis), I didn't realise I'd be doing over 25 000 finger pricks by the time I was 15.

"I have accepted it from the start, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with it. I'm not okay with the constant pressure, of having to calculate my food, of needles and finger pricks, of feeling sick, stressed, tired and insecure. I can never be okay with it, but what keeps me going is hope.

“I'm a Youth Ambassador for JDRF because I'm living with Type 1 diabetes and want to find a cure.

“Like all of the other JDRF youth advocates I really look forward to seeing research outcomes which results in therapies and treatments that make my life and the lives of other people with Type 1 Diabetes better,” Miss McGrath said.

Since the launch JDRF has published a Request for Applications to be administered through the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network. Applications are open until 24 October 2014 and more information can be obtained from the JDRF website.


Image: The ARC Special Research Initiative for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes official launch by Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP.
Image credit: Megan Penno