Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, has issued the following statement in response to a new study showing an increase in T1D among young people in the United States. According to the latest SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the prevalence of T1D in people under age 20 rose by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.
“This alarming growth in T1D, if unabated, means the prevalence of the disease would double for every future generation, resulting in massive new health care spending in federal entitlement programs and the private health care market,” said Mr. Brewer. “But even as the T1D rate rises, researchers funded by JDRF and other private foundations, coupled with federal initiatives like the Special Diabetes Program, are making remarkable strides across an array of diabetes research frontiers, from treatments to reverse vision loss, to technology like the artificial pancreas, to vaccines, and to new forms of insulin.
“Today’s data dramatizes the critical importance – not just to patients and their families, but also to the entire nation – of a sustained and undiminished commitment to programs like the Special Diabetes Program, so future generations of young Americans are not consigned to this life-threatening disease.”
SEARCH is the largest surveillance effort of diabetes among youth under the age of 20 conducted in the United States to date. The study covers five clinical centers located in California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington. The study included more than 20,000 participants representing all different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In addition to showing a 23 percent increase in the prevalence of T1D in young people under age 20, the study also found that the rate of incidence, or new diagnoses, of T1D in this population is rising by 2.7 percent every year.
The SEARCH study is jointly funded by the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the NIH, with resources from the government-funded Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which will expire if not renewed by Congress.
Mr. Brewer continued: “Studies like these provide valuable insight into T1D prevalence and incidence rates in the United States. Without the SDP, these studies would not be possible.”