Update on the American Diabetes Association’s 76th Sessions

The American Diabetes Association's 76th Scientific Sessions, the largest diabetes research conference of the year, was held last weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana. The JDCA tracked the conference with the purpose of identifying advancements and news related to T1D Practical Cure research.

The conference featured the delivery of 2,403 research abstracts (summaries of key research findings) and 437 formal presentations. Among research abstracts, the JDCA counted 210 that specifically addressed type 1 diabetes directly -- about 9% of the total. Among formal presentations, the JDCA counted 66 that directly addressed type 1 diabetes - about 15% of the total. Overall, the majority of conference discussion was focused on type 2 diabetes, with only a select number of key highlights relevant to the T1D audience. In addition, almost all of the T1D research abstracts shared at the conference were in early stage testing and remain a long way from entering human trials.


Only three active Practical Cure projects previously identified by the JDCA were addressed. The key communication points shared at the conference are summarized below:

  • BCG/Faustman: Poster presented in general session updating phase II progress with no new results.
  • ATG+GCSF: Poster presented in general session sharing solid results from phase I testing. 
  • Bionic Pancreas/Damiano: Presented abstract of research results from home use test in adults with strong results.

A few other projects that the JDCA identified as "emerging" and worth tracking were discussed:

  • Biologic Scaffold in Omentum ("BioHub"): Presented abstract of research results indicating safety in humans, albeit a low sample size.
  • Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation as the Source of Cell Supply / Harvard: Presented research approach which removes a person's own undifferentiated stem cells and grows them into insulin-producing beta cells. This work is still in animal testing and there is no timetable for moving into human testing.


Three T1D topics stood out in terms of the amount of media coverage they received outside of the conference itself. One of the hot topics has been identified as a potential Practical Cure. They are as follows:

  • Bionic Pancreas/Damiano: As presented above.
  • Dexcom CGM Poster Presentation:  Demonstrated, with 1.75 million data records at their disposal, that technology has improved accuracy and reliability with reductions in hypoglycemia and improvements in quality of life.
  • Availability of Pig Islet Cells/ University of Pittsburg: Delivered a talk on the plausibility of using pig islets as a source of cell supply for humans with only a minimal need for immunosuppression. On net, when tested in mice, the results were mixed -- some mice accepted the pig islets with strong results while others rejected them.