Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) has been awarded another leadership role in type 1 diabetes research. Carla Greenbaum, MD, BRI’s director of the Diabetes Research Program and Clinical Research Center, has been named chair of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet.

TrialNet is a network of the world’s leading type 1 diabetes researchers exploring ways to prevent, delay and slow progression of the disease.

BRI now leads Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet and its Clinical Network Hub, the T1D Exchange Biobank Operations Center, the JDRF Core for Assay Validation (CAV) and the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN). BRI’s collaborations uniquely consolidate type 1 diabetes leadership at BRI in all major aspects of research including:


How does TrialNet help people with type 1 diabetes?

Many people are still producing small amounts of insulin at the time of diagnosis. TrialNet looks for treatments that can help extend insulin production since even small amounts of natural insulin production can decrease long-term complications and improve disease management.

For relatives of people with type 1 diabetes—who are at 15 times the risk of developing the disease—TrialNet offers a unique risk screening test that can identify those persons with the highest risk years before symptoms appear.

What is the benefit of identifying high-risk individuals?

  • Those individuals found to be at highest risk may be eligible to join a prevention trial, testing ways to delay and prevent type 1 diabetes.
  • When type 1 is identified at its earliest stages, it allows for early and aggressive therapy, which goes a long way toward preserving the pancreas’s ability to continue making insulin. This is critical, especially in children, because it may make their diabetes easier to manage and lessen the likelihood of serious long-term complications.
  • People who are diagnosed early may be able to avoid getting seriously ill. About 25-30 percent of children with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed when they are seriously ill, compared to 3-4 percent of those who participate in research studies such as TrialNet.

What prevention trials are available?

Based on screening results, individuals may be eligible to join one of three prevention trials. Each trial tests a medication—oral insulin, abatacept and teplizumab—to see if the drug can help delay and/or prevent onset of type 1 diabetes. All of the medications have shown promise in earlier studies.

What trials do you have for those newly diagnosed?

TrialNet researchers are currently testing whether a drug used alone or in combination with another drug will help those newly diagnosed (within the last three months) continue to make some of their own insulin.

A pilot study found that those who received the combination maintained insulin production for up to one year after treatment compared to the untreated group who experienced a nearly 40 percent decline.

What are your hopes for people with diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a complex, devastating disease that needs to be managed 24/7. With TrialNet and other research collaborations, we are making tremendous progress. We are moving to where we can intervene in the disease process prior to and during diagnosis. We hope to find ways to eliminate and prevent this disease.

How can I learn more about diabetes research studies?

Call: 800-888-4187


  • 15 years of dedicated clinical research and trials
  • 17 Clinical Centers in North America and 6 International Centers
  • 200+ screening sites worldwide (screening test kits are also available by mail)
  • 155,339 individuals screened
  • 20,000 NEW individuals need to be screened each year to reach research goals


Originally published in BRING IT ON newsletter - Fall 2015

News & Views

September 1, 2015

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