The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program was launched in 2008 with the goal of having a positive impact on people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We partner with key players across the T1D ecosystem – patients, physicians, researchers, caregivers, other funders, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, device makers, insurers and grassroots and community organizations – in order to accelerate the development of devices, therapies and services that ease the burden of living with T1D. To date, the program, which has rapidly become the largest private foundation funder in T1D, has made in excess of 200 grants totaling more than $200 million in pursuit of this goal.
Following a thorough analysis of the T1D landscape, the Trust developed a holistic funding strategy that seeks to maximize the impact of our grantmaking across four distinct focus areas: Research, Technology, Systems and Outreach. In each of these program areas, we work to break down the barriers that traditionally have hampered progress in the fight to understand and treat T1D. We look to foster novel collaborations that leverage the best minds and efforts across disciplines and institutions. We encourage bold thinking and new approaches. We make meaningful investments, not only of capital but also of our staff knowledge and expertise that can be leveraged on behalf of our grantees and their efforts. Our starting point for every grant we make is “what is best for people living with T1D”.
To date, the Trust has supported more than 150 scientists in their cutting-edge work to understand how and why T1D develops and to discover life-changing therapies to treat, reverse and prevent the disease. Recognizing the power of collaboration and sharing information, the Trust’s research grants have created multidisciplinary networks with a common goal of developing therapies that will improve the lives of people with T1D. The research portfolio currently focuses on three areas: understanding the disease; creating renewable sources of beta cells; and controlling the autoimmunity associated with T1D. Recently, the program released an open request for grant proposals, the Breakthrough Therapeutics Initiative, to support novel ideas that will lead to new therapies. In the near future, the Trust will expand its grantmaking to include research initiatives related to the primary prevention of T1D. Read more.
While our ultimate goal is to help cure T1D, we recognize that a cure is many years away. As such, our program invests heavily in efforts to improve existing devices and accelerate the development and availability of new technologies that will ease the burden of living with T1D. In this work, we support many of the most prominent and innovative academic and scientific research institutions across the nation. Given the relatively small market opportunity that T1D offers to the for-profit medical device makers as compared to many larger disease groups, the Trust also actively partners with leading and up-and-coming players from industry to de-risk and speed the development of new technologies that will help manage the disease. Recent strategic funding programs include our Emerging Technologies Initiative, which supports early-stage, high-potential projects to develop novel T1D devices and advanced therapeutics. Read more.
As a private foundation with significant resources devoted to T1D, we have had a unique vantage point from which to both identify opportunities, spot gaps and break down the systemic silos that exist across the disease’s landscape. Leveraging this perspective, we support a range of initiatives to improve, expand and better integrate the research and clinical care infrastructure of T1D. Our largest systems investment to date has been the creation of the T1D Exchange, a uniquely powerful patient engagement platform designed to accelerate all aspects of drug and device development related to this complex disease. Our systems work also supports training and career awards to nurture the next generation of researchers and clinicians, the development and dissemination of improved standards of care, the establishment of universal criteria for device data that clinicians and people living with T1D can use to better manage the disease, and a range of meetings and workshops to enhance collaboration among T1D stakeholders. Read more.
We seek to ensure that everyone with T1D, especially those most in need, can access the services and support they need to ease the burden of living with this disease. We fund initiatives to build the capacity and sustainability of grassroots, community-based organizations that improve the quality of life for people with T1D, including more than 40 T1D day and sleep-away camps nationwide, various web-based communities devoted to better health, patient advocacy, and patient and family support, and a range of free educational services. Read more.