Because every day, type 1 diabetes turns the life of children upside down.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition caused by destruction of pancreatic beta cells by an individual’s own T cells. Beta cells produce the hormone insulin, which is required for glucose metabolism and energy production. Thus beta cell loss has devastating effects on multiple organ systems. The underlying cause of type 1 diabetes differs significantly from that of, more common, type 2 diabetes, in which cells become insulin-insensitive in part due to lifestyle choices.
Each year approximately 30,000 people in the US—more than of them half children—are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (also called “juvenile diabetes”), and currently about 2 million Americans live with the disease. There is no cure: patients closely monitor blood glucose levels and take corrective insulin daily, orally or by injection. Despite this onerous regimen, many develop complications such as kidney damage, neuropathy or blindness.