JDRF Canada Introduces New Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Trials Finder

The following blog post was submitted by Lara Green, National Manager, Research and Training Programs at JDRF Canada.

JDRF Canada is the largest funder and advocate for type 1 diabetes in Canada. JDRF’s mission is to improve lives by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure and treat T1D and its complications. A key component of JDRF’s research strategy is the support of clinical trials to advance new therapies for improving lives of those living with type 1 diabetes.

Recognizing barriers to Type 1 Diabetes clinical trial participation

One of the biggest challenges for clinical trials is finding participants. A common statistic in clinical trial literature is that 80% of clinical trials are delayed or ended early because of low enrollment rates. These delays prolong the lengthy research process and inflate the expensive price tag for these trials. These challenges can also delay the type 1 diabetes research that JDRF Canada helps to support.

Despite having a very involved, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic type 1 diabetes community in Canada – traits that often accompany diseases that rely so heavily on self-management – the rates of participation in clinical trials for type 1 diabetes are low. 

JDRF’s primary mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs for people living with type 1 diabetes. JDRF Canada recognized that this gap offered the opportunity to support clinical trial advancement via community education, awareness, and resources.

In 2022, JDRF Canada engaged an agency to survey and consult nearly 1,000 members of the T1D community to gather insight into knowledge and beliefs around clinical trials. Almost all survey respondents agreed that participating in clinical trials is key to finding a cure for diabetes, but few believe that a cure for diabetes is near. This commonly heard sentiment persists from false hopes promised decades ago that a cure was guaranteed ‘within 5-years’ and has perhaps impacted willingness to participate and trust in research.

But it’s important to remember that clinical trials aren’t reserved only for the groundbreaking ‘cure research’ but are also needed for each incremental advancement in life-improving therapies, devices, and behavioural programs.

Creating the Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Trials Finder

The surveys and consultations revealed key barriers to participation in clinical trials and JDRF Canada has spent the past year addressing these challenges. Interestingly, over 65% of the survey respondents said they would be very or extremely likely to participate in a clinical trial but only 20% actively sought out information on clinical trials. This insight, coupled with the information that people didn’t know where to find clinical trials they were eligible for, wanted to receive this information passively, and wanted more information to be available in French, led to the creation of JDRF Canada’s T1D Clinical Trials Finder

This fully bilingual site lists all clinical trials for type 1 diabetes that are actively recruiting in Canada in an easy-to-read format with the option to register for passive alerts. The ability to filter by virtual trials helps to address concerns around logistics (such as time off work, cost of travel to sites, or living outside of urban areas) as well as concerns about the invasiveness of trials. By educating the community about the breadth of clinical trial involvement, we can meet people where they are at, and support them in their journey to better understand research and get involved in a way that works for them.

Inviting the Type 1 Diabetes Community to get involved in research

JDRF Canada is also creating a ‘hub’ of resources and information to support the community in their journey to becoming (potential) research participants or partners. JDRF emphasizes the importance of patient-partners at every step of research design and utilizes a dedicated group of Research Collaboration Volunteers with a background in science or research as well as lived experience as a person with, or caregiver of, someone with type 1 diabetes. These volunteers not only support researchers in their studies, but support JDRF Canada by reviewing applications for funding opportunities for the potential impact on the community.

JDRF Canada invites everyone in the type 1 diabetes community to get involved in research.  The JDRF website includes a page that addresses frequently asked questions about clinical trials, video testimonials from past participants, the T1D Clinical Trials Finder, infographics about the research process, and much more. By educating the community and empowering people with type 1 diabetes to participate in research, JDRF’s mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs will be realized sooner.


#TalkClinicalTrials is a campaign led by CTO with the a goal of building awareness around clinical trials. Why? Because clinical trials matter to all of us. They help to generate better treatments and technologies and ultimately help shape the future of medicine. Explore more stories from the series and join the conversation on social media using #TalkClinicalTrials.