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Clinical trials network launched for diabetes research


Toronto, ON – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Canada has launched a large-scale network 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.

Support for the new network comes from $20-million funding the federal government, along with an additional $13.9 million contribution from JDRF. The funding will be used to accelerate the testing of new technologies and treatments for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

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.

The first JDRF CCTN trial is at Toronto General Hospital, part 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 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 network 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.