Research Into Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes

Why Is CFRD a Problem in CF?

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) shares some features with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In people with CF, the thick, sticky mucus that is characteristic of the disease causes scarring of the pancreas. This scarring prevents the pancreas from producing normal amounts of insulin; so, like people with type 1 diabetes, they become insulin deficient. Their pancreas still makes some insulin, but not enough to stay healthy and maintain good nutrition.

Additionally, people with CFRD may not respond to insulin in the right way. Like people with type 2 diabetes, people with CFRD may become "insulin resistant," especially when sick, taking steroid medication, or pregnant.

What Are the Current Treatments for CFRD?

CFRD can be well managed with insulin, along with monitoring your blood sugar levels, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and staying active.

To meet the growing demand for physicians who are trained to address the unique needs of people with CFRD, we created the Emerging Leaders in CF Endocrinology (EnVision) Program. The EnVision program funds training and mentorship for physicians to develop expertise in the endocrinologic care of people with CF. EnVision members share knowledge and resources to improve care and treatment of CFRD.

For more information about diagnosis, available treatment options, and current care guidelines, visit CFRD.

What Research Is Underway?

Understanding the Disease

We're funding a wide range of research to better understand CFRD. Some of the key questions researchers seek to answer include:

  • What are the risk factors associated with developing CFRD?
  • How does the defective CFTR protein contribute to the development of CFRD?
  • What impact do CFTR modulators have on glucose and insulin?

In June 2021, we sponsored a scientific workshop along with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to share data, identify key research questions and knowledge gaps, and inform future research priorities

New Potential Treatments

In this video, a panel of research experts and community members discuss several research studies aimed at improving CFRD diagnosis and treatment, including one innovative study evaluating the use of a "bionic pancreas" to treat CFRD. If successful, this approach could simplify management of diabetes and improve glucose control.

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Topics
CF-Related Complications | Research
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