How is diabetes treated, and is there a cure?
Currently, there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but it can be treated successfully by administering insulin, either by an injection or pump, and by following a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular physical activity. Looking after diabetes requires planning and attention, which may feel over-whelming at times, especially when your child is first diagnosed. However, there’s no reason for it to stop your child living the healthy, happy and successful life you had hoped for them.
While transplants can and do take place for some people with Type 1 diabetes, in practice it’s not so simple.
There are two types of transplant:
- Whole pancreas transplant : this is where the organ is replaced by a pancreas donated from someone who has died. These transplants are generally only performed on people with diabetes who also need a kidney transplant.
- Islet cell transplants: this is where insulin-producing cells are taken from donated pancreases and injected into the liver, where they start to produce insulin. Again, the cells are taken from someone who has died, and it takes three to four donated pancreases to give one person sufficient islet cells. Islet cell transplants are only available for people who have severe problems with hypoglycaemia.
In both cases, because the new organ or cells are ‘foreign’ to the body, drugs must be taken for life to prevent the body rejecting them. For this reason, transplants cannot be considered a cure for dia-betes. The anti-rejection drugs can have very unpleasant side effects.
Diabetes UK funded projects
- development of an artificial pancreas, a vaccine (Type 1 diabetes)
- further understanding of genetic mechanisms, very low-calorie diet (Type 2 diabetes)
Research Project Directory
Our research project directory showcases the diverse and exciting array of diabetes research projects that we are supporting all over the UK. Everything you see is possible thanks to the continued support of our members, donors and voluntary groups – who help us decide which studies deserve the charity's support and help raise the money that is vital to research.
- Ever since Diabetes UK awarded its first research grant in 1935 (for £50), we have been one of the largest funders of diabetes research in the UK.
- We support a wide range of pioneering initiatives into the causes and prevention of diabetes, improvements in care and treatment and the search for a cure.
- A particular focus for 2012-13 has been our targeted research fund, from which we have awarded five new grants that will make a difference to people with diabetes by overcoming barriers to good diabetes care and supported self-management.
Note: You can search for projects in this directory based on the type of research involved or the region or institution where they are taking place – why not find out more about the research projects taking place near you and consider supporting them through our Adopt a Project scheme.