The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) recently announced on September 14 that it is sponsoring a $100,000 Challenge, calling for the development of new methods for discovering and creating a glucose-responsive insulin medication for treating insulin-dependent diabetes. The JDRF is a global leader in promoting research and development in prevention and medication for Type 1 diabetes. The challenge is open to the public; it can be found at InnoCentive.com, a website that allows the global community to work together in solving problems across a wide variety of fields.
The JDRF is utilizing InnoCentive’s base of “problem solvers” to encourage the development of a transformative and sophisticated insulin medication for diabetics. The JDRF hopes that the drug will improve glucose control, reduce or eliminate the need for frequent blood sugar testing, and decrease the chances of long-term complications arising from diabetes.
The ultimate goal of the challenge is the development of a glucose-responsive insulin medication; such as a medication would only activate when the body requires it, releasing the proper amount of insulin into the bloodstream upon the detection of high blood glucose levels. It will also regulate blood glucose levels in diabetics while requiring only a single dose each day, or even less if possible.
According to Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., assistant Vice President of Treatment Therapies at the JDRF, modern insulin treatments and blood sugar monitoring technologies place an unnecessary burden on diabetics. “Today, insulin treatment requires diligent monitoring and burdensome administration, often several times a day, every day,” says Dr. Kowalski. This remains the only way to regulate blood sugar levels for the millions of individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes worldwide. Although research has propelled the development of better and faster-acting insulins, the disease is still hard to control because of the way insulin is administered to patients.
What we need is sophisticated insulin that will take the guesswork out of managing diabetes by developing a novel insulin that works in the same way insulin works in people without diabetes. By fostering novel approaches from diverse problem Solvers within and outside the diabetes field, we hope this Challenge with InnoCentive will help speed progress toward the development of glucose-responsive insulin- progress urgently needed by people with diabetes.”
Dwayne Spradlin, CEO and president of InnoCentive, commented on the new project.
“JDRF is an organization that recognizes the importance of innovation in the healthcare industry,” said Spradlin. “This approach of looking beyond traditional researchers to gain new insights, ideas, and solutions illustrates their commitment to finding a better way to treat diabetes. We are excited to be partnering with JDRF finding new ways to enhance the quality of life for patients while helping patients better manage their disease.”
InnoCentive.com is a platform for connecting businesses or organizations looking for solutions (“seekers”) with interdisciplinary scientists and research groups who have the resources and capabilities to offer solutions (“problem solvers”). The platform is an “open source” model that encourages scientists from all over the world to offer their own solutions to the problems. Cash rewards are offered for the best solutions, typically in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. Solutions have come from countries all over the world, including the United States, Europe, Russia, India, China, and Argentina.
InnoCentive is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. The idea for the company came to its founders in 1998 and it officially launched in 2001.