American Diabetes Association Announces Bold New Research Initiative
December 11, 2012
With nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. living with diabetes, and another 79 million living with prediabetes, diabetes is a physical and financial burden for the health of the nation. To accelerate the research needed to discover solutions and ultimately cure this deadly epidemic, the American Diabetes Association is launching a bold new program, Pathway to Stop Diabetes, an effort to inspire and support a new generation of diabetes researchers. Individuals supported through this program will focus on innovative ideas and transformational approaches that lead to discoveries in diabetes prevention and treatment, and ultimately change the face of diabetes.
New advancements in diabetes research depend on recruiting, funding and mentoring the next generation of creative scientists. Pathway to Stop Diabetes will support scientists who are early in their career or are established but would like to expand their focus to diabetes research. The program will make a substantial financial commitment to them over an extended period of time, nurturing novel ideas and creating a new generation of diabetes researchers. Through awards of $1.625 million over the course of five to seven years, Pathway to Stop Diabetes will allow scientists to have the time and focus needed to explore new ideas without the distraction of pursuing additional grant support.
"Today, one in 12 Americans has diabetes, and if our current course as a nation continues, by 2050, one in three American adults will have diabetes. Although this is one of the greatest public health crises our country is currently facing, diabetes research is severely underfunded. This disparity has a limiting effect on innovations and breakthroughs — in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and ultimately, needed cures," said Karen Talmadge, PhD, Chair of the Board-Elect and Vice Chair, Research Foundation of the American Diabetes Association. "The American Diabetes Association's Pathway to Stop Diabetes will transform diabetes research by discovering brilliant scientists and providing them with the resources needed for breakthrough discoveries."
Despite the fact that diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, research for the disease is still critically underfunded. Twice as many Americans have diabetes as have cancer, and diabetes is more than 20 times more prevalent than HIV/AIDS; yet, funding for diabetes is substantially less than either cancer or HIV, particularly when compared on a per patient effected basis. Funding is vital to making substantial progress and although researchers have made significant strides against the disease, a focused effort is needed to address a complex disease and discover prevention methods, treatment options and ultimately, a cure. With a goal of funding a minimum of 100 researchers over the course of the next ten years, Pathway to Stop Diabetes will provide the crucial support needed to achieve this goal.
Founding corporate support, totaling $20 million, was received to launch the initiative. This included a $7.5 million sponsorship each from the program's Visionary Sponsors Sanofi and Novo Nordisk Inc. Additionally, the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation has made a $5 million grant as a Benefactor Sponsor of Pathway to Stop Diabetes.
"This partnership between Sanofi US and the American Diabetes Association will allow us to combine our expertise and resources to ultimately better help people living with diabetes," said Dennis Urbaniak, Vice President and Head of U.S. Diabetes Division, Sanofi US, whose company made the initial corporate sponsorship to help launch the program. "Through Pathway to Stop Diabetes, we are proud to continue to support the advancement of science and development of innovative, integrated and personalized solutions to help people better manage their disease."
Pathway to Stop Diabetes scientists will be selected by a Mentor Advisory Group made up of distinguished scientists. The Mentor Advisors will also provide ongoing scientific and career advice, and work with the Association to create a challenging and collaborative environment for Pathway to Stop Diabetes scientists. As part of this environment, sponsors and donors to the program will also be invited to interact with and provide support to the Pathway scientists throughout their time in the program. In addition, the initiative will provide scientists with opportunities to advance not only their research, but also their careers through interactions with the Mentor Advisory Group, participation in special symposia, select speaking opportunities and technology designed to foster interactions and collaborations.
"The diabetes epidemic requires the community to collaborate more often as there are still many avenues to explore scientifically. It's a model that fosters innovation and one we live by," said Jerzy Gruhn, president, Novo Nordisk Inc. "Supporting Pathway to Stop Diabetes means the best and the brightest researchers in diabetes can bring new thinking and understanding to the development of treatments that could improve patients' lives."
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. For the past 75 years, our mission has been to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.