March 9, 2009, Washington, DC -- The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide and the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research, praised President Barack Obama for the Executive Order officially repealing the existing policy limiting federal research funding for embryonic stem cell research to cell lines established prior to August 9, 2001.
"We're very grateful to President Obama for setting in place a policy to fully explore this promising field of science," said new JDRF President and CEO, Dr. Alan Lewis. "President Obama's Executive Order is a strong signal to patients, scientists, and the nation that we have his full support to pursue science that may accelerate progress to new treatments and possible cures for diabetes."
Type 1 diabetes affects as many as 3 million people in the U.S., causing the immune system to attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas so that the body no longer uses sugar to create energy. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Research into human embryonic stem cells could speed the development of a cure for diabetes by helping researchers better understand how the disease occurs and eventually derive insulin-producing cells that are safe to use for transplantation. These discoveries are years away, but federal guidance and funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help speed scientific progress.
"This is an exciting day for children and adults living with type 1 diabetes, their families, and everyone with a connection to diabetes who have worked for years to remove restrictions to this research," said Dr. Lewis. "Now researchers, physicians, and ethicists at NIH can make decisions on ethical research based purely on sound science."