SickKids projects awarded over $15 million in funding to drive breakthroughs in diabetes research
Two research projects at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) led by Drs. Diane Wherrett and Farid Mahmud have been awarded over $15 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to improve outcomes for children with diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune condition that can contribute to reduced quality of life and shortened life expectancy, as well as result in life-threatening complications. Diabetes rates in Canada are among the highest in the world with the condition placing a heavy burden on those living with diabetes, their families and the health-care system.
To help address this burden Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced this funding as part of a larger investment of $33 million from the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Canada, to support 12 research projects across Canada that seek to prevent, screen for, manage, and treat diabetes.
Learn more about how these two SickKids-led projects are working towards early intervention and equitable care for children and youth with diabetes.
CanScreenT1D, led by Dr. Diane Wherrett, Staff Physician, is a national consortium that will explore screening for T1D in collaboration with those living with diabetes and their families, health providers and other experts across Canada.
Currently, a genetic risk score and the presence of diabetes-related antibodies can indicate who may be at a higher risk of developing T1D. By designing a screening program for the general population, the research team hope to identify those at risk and provide appropriate interventions earlier.
“Thanks to our team of researchers and patient partners across Canada, we are creating a pilot screening program to help identify children at risk of type 1 diabetes, aligned with the values and preferences of Canadians,” says Wherrett. “With earlier diagnosis and connections with ongoing research initiatives, we can hopefully prevent serious complications at the time of diagnosis and increase access to treatments that may delay or prevent type 1 diabetes.”
This project received $12 million in funding through the CIHR-JDRF Type 1 Diabetes Screening Research Consortium.
Empowering diverse youth with diabetes through precision medicine (EVERYONE)
The EVERYONE project, led by Dr. Farid Mahmud, Staff Physician and Associate Scientist in the Translational Medicine program, is studying how differences in genes, environments and social factors contribute to differences in diabetes management and outcomes for youth with T1D.
Using a personalized approach to diabetes care, the project team aims to improve care and eliminate disparities between persons with diabetes, aligned with SickKids’ vision for Precision Child Health, a movement to deliver precision-based care for every patient.
“Our study will contribute to a greater understanding of how genetic, physiological and social factors impact differences in diabetes outcomes so we can tailor treatment options to optimize care,” says Mahmud. “This is vital to our efforts to evaluate precision medicine approaches that can be implemented and equitably applied in youth living with diabetes.”
This project received over $3 million in funding through the CIHR-JDRF Type 1 Diabetes and Precision Medicine opportunity.