Triad JDRF helps fund ‘artificial pancreas’

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Every year hundreds of people participate in JDRF walks to support groundbreaking research.

Now, the type 1 diabetes community is celebrating what many are calling a medical breakthrough.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first automated insulin delivery device for type 1 diabetes – the so-called “artificial pancreas.”

“It’s very exciting. It’s a real game changer for those of us with type 1 diabetes,” said Brad Hayes, president of the JDRF Board of Directors, Piedmont Triad Chapter.

“The artificial pancreas was just a twinkle in our eye and over the past eight years since I joined the board, it has come to life,” said Eleanor Schaffner-Mosh, executive director of the Piedmont Triad Chapter of JDRF.

The device is expected to make a significant difference for people living with type 1 diabetes.

“It uses two devices, a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump to automate the way that we give ourselves insulin. Today, both devices exist, but they don’t work together," Hayes said.

JDRF played a big part in making the artificial pancreas a reality.

Annual walks make up a significant portion of the organization’s fundraising efforts.

Hayes says JDRF funded research for more than 10 years and more than $100 million raised helped support the artificial pancreas project – including money raised at walks.

The device is not a cure, and therefore, leaders say their work isn’t done.

However, there is tremendous optimism for what could be next.

“We are definitely so much closer than we were even five years ago, and certainly way closer than we were 46 years ago,” Schaffner-Mosh said.

The artificial pancreas is expected to be on the market next spring.

The next JDRF Piedmont walk is Saturday, Nov. 5, at Elon University’s Rhoades Stadium.

Check-in for the walk begins at 9 a.m. The walk starts at 10 a.m.