T1D Exchange to Conduct First Ever Study of Black-White “Glycation Gap” Among T1D Patients

New York City – The Type 1 Diabetes Program of the Helmsley Charitable Trust today announced an $879,510 grant to the T1D Exchange Clinic Coordinating Center, JAEB Center for Health Research to examine whether today’s monitoring methods overestimate mean glucose levels in African Americans living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) as compared to whites with T1D.

Today’s primary tool for determining the effectiveness of diabetes treatment is the HbA1c test, or the glycated hemoglobin test. Calculating average blood sugar control over an extended period of 90 days, the test additionally offers a useful indicator for other long-term diabetes complications, such as blindness, amputations, and kidney and heart disease. Yet recent data show that HbA1c may not provide an accurate picture of African Americans’ blood glucose levels.

Clinical data from the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry, a comprehensive registry of over 26,000 people living with T1D, has shown that HbA1c levels are higher in African Americans compared with whites, and African-American youth are three times more likely than white youth to have test results over 9.5% (while the standard recommended result is less than 7.5% for children). It is unclear whether African Americans’ higher levels can be explained by worse glycemic control or race-based genetic differences in the glycation of hemoglobin. This grant for the Exchange will fund a definitive study to assess the reason for this racial difference in the association between HbA1c and mean glucose.

This multi-center observational 12-week study will include approximately 200 individuals with T1D with approximately equal numbers of non-Hispanic African American and non-Hispanic white participants, all of whom will wear a continuous glucose monitor for the 12 weeks. The primary analysis will evaluate whether the slope between mean glucose measured with a continuous glucose monitor and HbA1c varies significantly for African Americans and whites.

“While HbA1c is the leading method to measure one’s management of the disease, it is critical to understand whether the HbA1c test reflects glycemic levels with similar meaning in both African Americans and whites,” said Roy Beck, M.D., Ph.D., Director, T1D Exchange Clinic Coordinating Center, and Executive Director, JAEB Center for Health Research, a renowned center for clinical trials and epidemiologic research based in Tampa, FL. “This study opens new avenues for research and helps us identify how T1D manifests itself across various racial and ethnic populations.”

“Thanks to the power of the T1D Exchange, we are able to conduct a study to understand racial differences, which is critical to providing quality patient care for all,” said Eliot Brenner, Program Director of the Trust’s T1D Program, speaking of the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry that bolsters research and development projects with a vast dataset of information on more than 26,000 characterized individuals living with T1D.

Results from the 12-week study will help researchers continue to identify important areas for future research aimed at understanding how and why racial disparities exist in T1D.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in health, select place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion. The Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program is the largest private foundation funder of T1D-related research, treatment and support services in the nation. For more information, visit

About T1D Exchange

T1D Exchange, the first program of Unitio, was founded on the premise that finding faster, better therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D) requires a research model as multi-faceted as the disease itself. T1D Exchange acts as a convener of the thousands of people working to improve patient outcomes already—by connecting them to one another and to the patient community at large. Drawing on decades of research and data that have come before, T1D Exchange aims to be the translational engine that enables the entire T1D ecosystem to collaborate in truly novel ways via the integration of a Clinic Network, Clinic Registry, Biobank, and the online patient/caregiver community, Glu. For more information, please visit t1dexchange.org.

About JAEB Center For Health Research

The JAEB Center for Health Research (JCHR) is a nonprofit company dedicated to conducting clinical research studies that can have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients. One of its major areas of focus is type 1 diabetes. The JAEB Center serves as the coordinating center for the T1D Exchange Clinic Network, which includes 70 type 1 diabetes centers in the U.S. with broad geographic, socio-economic, and race/ethnicity distributions of patients for whom they provide care. JCHR investigators have co-authored more than 200 manuscripts in scientific journals.