AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center are getting ready for their annual EPIC Diabetes Conference. EPIC stands for empowering patients for individualized care. The conference Is designed to be an interactive experience between patients and diabetes experts.

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“We really want to let them know what the latest research is going on and what care options are available. And, traditionally, it’s been an in-person event, and, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we’ve been moving it to a virtual event in the last couple of years. But, that has the advantage of reaching a broader audience,” said Lori Sussel, Research Director at the Barbara Davis Center.

The conference has two tracks which run simultaneously, one for adult patients and one for pediatric patients. Experts speak on topics like technology, research, and weight management.

“Basically, the whole idea is to discuss the newest technologies, what drugs are available, what therapies are available, and what can be expected in the future,” Sussel explained.

Sussel will be giving the keynote address to update participants on the current research happening around Type 1 diabetes.

“We have actually two different teams of scientists. One team is really focused on understanding the autoimmune response and trying to identify those cells that are responsible for that response. And then, the other group of scientists are looking at the insulin producing cells, and trying to figure out why they’re targeted and maybe how to develop new therapies. To make sure that we can replace them in the future,” she said.

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Sussel went on to explain that research into Type 1 diabetes has four main focuses: identifying biomarkers to be able to predict the disease before it happens, blocking the immune system from destroying the insulin producing cells, figuring out ways to protect the insulin producing cells, and finding ways to replace those cells once they’re destroyed.

“So it’s, in a sense, trying to find a cure,” she said.

The EPIC Diabetes Conference is Saturday, May 21st from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It is entirely online.

LINK: For Tickets & Information to the EPIC Diabetes Conference

Libby Smith