The funds raised in this year’s One Walk Step Challenge will help support some of the most promising areas of Australian T1D research. Thank you to everyone taking their steps to help us create a world without T1D!
We had a chat with one of the researchers we are supporting this year: Dr. Ki Wook Kim, the lead postdoctoral research scientist for the Virology theme in the . Here’s a deeper dive into Dr. Kim’s research on T1D and the impact he hopes to achieve for people living with this autoimmune disease.
“The ultimate goal is to help develop vaccines to prevent T1D, as well as antiviral therapeutics to potentially treat people already diagnosed with T1D”
Dr Kim’s work aims to uncover the link between viruses and T1D.
As one of the lead investigators of ENDIA, Dr Kim is looking at whether early infection by viruses during pregnancy and infancy increases the risk of developing T1D. ENDIA is a nationwide study involving 1,500 mothers and infants with a first degree relative with T1D. Dr Kim is looking at all the viruses women are exposed to during pregnancy, to see if this affects the chance of their child developing T1D.
When asked about how his research can help people, Dr Kim says the “ultimate goal is to help develop vaccines to prevent T1D, as well as antiviral therapeutics to potentially treat people already diagnosed with T1D”. By finding which specific types of viruses are associated with the development of T1D, researchers will have a better idea of where to focus their efforts for vaccine development. It could be the first vaccine in the world available for T1D!
“With technology and medicine advancing more rapidly than ever, there is enormous potential for earlier detection of individuals at risk of T1D…”
Dr. Kim is hopeful when asked about what to expect in future treatments and technology for people living with T1D. He says ‘with technology and medicine advancing more rapidly than ever, there is enormous potential for earlier detection of individuals at risk of T1D...’ Leading back to his research, he says ‘This early detection gives us the opportunity to intervene, including by preventing viral causes of T1D through the use of vaccines and antiviral drugs – which I feel that we’re really at the cusp of achieving!’.
“I would also like to emphasise that high quality research takes time and persistence.”
While there are promising breakthroughs on the horizon, continued funding and support is crucial for areas of research such as Dr. Kim’s. He says “I would also like to emphasise that high quality research takes time and persistence. This is why having your continued support each year is so important to sustain the important research that we do.”. By taking part in this year’s One Walk Step challenge and raising funds to support researchers such as Dr. Kim, you are helping the world’s leading T1D researchers focus their full attention on the task at hand – which Dr. Kim says is ultimately “to end T1D”.