We’ve just committed to invest £2.7 million in 12 exciting new research projects.
We’re working towards a world where diabetes can do no harm by supporting high quality research in all forms of diabetes, ranging from fundamental research carried out in laboratories, to clinical research testing diabetes therapies and devices.
The new research projects we’re funding are looking for better ways to treat retinopathy and foot ulcers; improving strategies for diagnosing Type 1 diabetes and helping people with the condition to control their blood glucose levels; deepening our understanding how Type 2 develops; and looking at ways to put Type 2 diabetes into remission.
Can chili pepper help chronic foot pain?
Professor Praveen Anand at Imperial College London has been awarded over £240,000 to find a way to reduce chronic pain in feet – a condition that affects around 1 in 5 people with diabetes. Chronic pain is caused by nerve damage (known as neuropathy), and current treatments aren’t effective in everyone, and can have side effects.
Professor Anand wants to find out if capsaicin, a molecule found in chili peppers, which provides their hot pungency, can be used to reduce chronic pain caused by neuropathy and also help the damaged nerves to regrow - something no treatments are currently able to do. Professor Anand hopes capsaicin can stimulate the regeneration of nerves by “pruning” their endings. He will be testing a new skin plaster containing high dose capsaicin on people with diabetes who have chronic foot pain.
"Treating pain caused by nerve damage remains a major unmet need for people with diabetes. It can compromise work and quality of life, so I very much hope that my research can make a difference."
Professor Praveen Anand
Turning stem cells into beta cells
Dr Natasha Hill at Kingston University has been awarded over £270,000 to look for ways to turn stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells. Beta cells are destroyed by the immune system in Type 1 diabetes and stop working properly in Type 2. Making an unlimited supply of beta cells in the lab would create new treatment strategies for both types of diabetes in the future.
Dr Hill will look at ways to produce fully working beta cells by giving them the proper supportive surroundings they need to mature. She hopes that this could improve both the number of beta cells produced and their quality.
“I wanted to thank Diabetes UK and their supporters for funding my research. I hope that it would open the doors to using laboratory-grown beta cells to treat both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.”
Dr Natasha Hill
We’re only able to invest in world-class diabetes research thanks to the commitment and support of donors and volunteers.
“We fund the highest quality diabetes research with real potential to transform the lives of those with the condition. So thank you to all of our supporters for enabling us to fund scientists around the UK carrying out cutting-edge diabetes research – we wouldn’t be able to do that without you.
“The new research projects we’ve committed to fund will help us answer important questions in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as diabetes complications, taking us a real step closer to a world where diabetes can do no harm.”
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK