In 2019, we committed over £6.8 million into over 35 new research projects all across the UK. We’re supporting research to tackle the immune response in type 1 diabetes, understand how insulin release is controlled in type 2 diabetes, and search for more ways to help reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
In 2015, Diabetes UK and JDRF came together to establish the Type 1 Immunotherapy Consortium, led by Professor Colin Dayan at Cardiff University. Today, we have pledged just under £800,000 across two projects to further transform research into developing immunotherapies.
These treatments hope to stop the immune attack behind type 1 diabetes from happening. Our support will help to expand UK immunotherapy trials and find better ways of measuring their success, so we can speed up progress and reach the first immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes sooner.
Around 4 million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes, and by 2025 we believe that number could reach 5 million. That’s why we’re supporting research that will help to reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes, to help people live healthier, longer lives.
At King’s College London, we’re supporting Professor Shanta Persaud, who wants to see if a chemical released by the pancreas could help to boost insulin production. She hopes this research could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes with fewer unwanted side effects.
We’re also supporting research projects aiming to improve quality of life for people with diabetes by tackling complications. Dr Judith Lechner at Queen’s University Belfast is one of our latest RD Lawrence Fellows, who works on finding ways to prevent retinopathy. She wants to examine if a protective protein can be used to repair and reduce damage to the eyes, helping to prevent sight loss in people with diabetes.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson is Director of Research at Diabetes UK. She said:
With our latest injection of funding, we’re developing a pipeline of research activity to drive forward innovations and help us reach a world where diabetes can do no harm. By funding research into the treatment and prevention of complications, we can help people with diabetes to live healthier, longer lives. And through the support of researchers studying type 1 and type 2 diabetes, we want to make the management of diabetes easier and move closer to finding a cure.
This funding is only possible thanks to our supporters, who donate both their time and vital funds to Diabetes UK.
We’ve funded over £67 million worth of research in the last decade alone, and we’re continuing to support innovative research across the UK. We've been behind historic achievements, like funding the development of the first insulin pen and handheld glucose meter. And we’ve also supported contemporary breakthroughs, like the DiRECT trial, which showed remission of type 2 can be a reality. Moving forward, we will continue to support researchers to find new ways to care, cure and prevent diabetes of all types.