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Pediatric Diabetes Research

Our vision is a world without diabetes and its complications. Until that day comes, we're focused on making sure that every child or teen diagnosed with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes lives a long and healthy life.

Our clinical research program focuses on preserving health and quality of life for children with diabetes, preventing the complications related to diabetes, and improving blood glucose control. We apply scientific tools of investigation to identify new treatments and information that will directly benefit our patients.

Motivation for Better Care

We’ve been exploring the best ways for families to be involved in their child’s care—without stress and conflict. We've also studied how Care Ambassadors improve health outcomes.

We’re also researching the use of popular technologies to better motivate children and teens to regularly monitor their blood glucose. More frequent monitoring improves blood glucose control, which in turn reduces the chances of diabetic complications. An approach we’ve had success with, for example, is to use wireless devices—PalmPilotTM and text messaging—either to make monitoring a game or as a reminder to do it.

Prevention of such complications as kidney disease is another major area of study in our department. Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of our Pediatric and Adolescent Unit, and colleagues have identified predictors of early kidney disease in young patients. They found that frequent medical appointments and keeping blood glucose levels at or below 8 percent reduced risk for kidney disease. Another study showed that a medication used for high blood pressure, called ACE inhibitors, can help patients with type 1 diabetes keep their kidneys functioning.

Type 1 Diabetes: Looking for a Cure

We are also trying to untangle the complex combination of genes and environmental factors that cause the destruction of insulin-making cells in the pancreas, which leads to type 1 diabetes. As part of one study, we are seeking markers of early complications, the early cellular changes that indicate trouble is brewing.  

For more information on all the type 1 diabetes research at Joslin,

click here.

Type 2 Diabetes: Looking at Treatment

Type 2 diabetes is increasing in alarming numbers among children and adolescents, thought to be largely due to obesity. Dr. Laffel is the principal investigator of a national study that is looking at treatment options to stem the tide of this emerging epidemic.

For more information on all the type 2 diabetes research at Joslin,

click here.

More Information

Page last updated: November 07, 2019