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A researcher’s perspective: Linking scientific discovery to clinical medicine

For Carla Greenbaum, M.D., growing up in the era of space travel and the moon landing kindled a lifelong interest in science. That interest influenced her career trajectory, and she’s now a leading investigator at Benaroya Research Institute where she has studied the natural history of type 1 diabetes (T1D) since 2000. Her work focuses on finding the cause of autoimmunity and developing targets for treatment, which she finds “incredibly exciting and inspiring—like landing on the moon!” 

Her expertise is invaluable to projects like Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international network of clinical trials in T1D supported by JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

To get a researcher’s perspective, we asked Dr. Greenbaum about the excitement of being involved in clinical trials, the strength of the T1D community, and the research she finds most exciting. Read on to get her insights.

A researcher’s perspective on type 1 diabetes

What do you like best about working on clinical trials?

I like being a key link in the chain of scientific discovery in clinical medicine. Clinical trials are the result of brilliant scientists’ ideas about mechanisms that cause disease, and examining the hints on how to stop it. Those ideas are then handed off to translational researchers looking for added information about which ones are true. Finally, that work is then handed off to people like me to do clinical trials to see whether the ideas are correct and can really make a difference in people’s lives.

What would you say to those in the T1D community who want to know more about participating in trials?

In order for research to move forward, we need clinical trial participants to help researchers answer important questions. The quicker trials enroll, the faster we have answers.

JDRF and TrialReach recently launched a new tool to match participants with clinical trials. How might this tool make a difference in T1D research?

Any tool that connects potential participants to research opportunities in a clear and meaningful manner is imperative in the fight against T1D.

What excites you most about T1D research today?

The most exciting thing about T1D research today is the number of human clinical trials taking place at each stage of the disease. This is a result of so many years of investment in basic research and the efforts of people in so many disciplines. It takes more than a village — it takes an army of passionate people dedicated to stopping T1D.

Participating in clinical trials is one of the best things individuals can do in order to drive research forward. Learn more about trials near you by using the button below.