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A tribute to Professor David Dunger

We were very sorry to learn that Professor David Dunger sadly passed away on 20 July. 

A headshot of Professor David Dunger

Professor Dunger was a clinician and scientist, based at the University of Cambridge, who specialised in type 1 diabetes in children. He was a great supporter of Diabetes UK and a founding member of our children’s Diabetes Research Steering Group

His research looked at how type 1 diabetes develops in children and how complications can develop as they grow up, as well as how factors during a pregnancy might increase a child’s future chance of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Professor Dunger led the AdDIT trial, which set out to find out if taking drugs that lower blood pressure (called ACE inhibitors) and cholesterol levels (called statins), could reduce the risk of kidney, eye and heart disease in over 4,000 young people with type 1 diabetes from across the world.

He was an important figure in research and innovative clinical trials exploring new ways to spot markers in the body that could tell us earlier about whether someone might go on to develop type 1 diabetes. He was also instrumental in setting up early clinical trials for artificial pancreas research at the University of Cambridge, drawing on his extensive experience and insight to help design these trials.

Professor Dunger was a key member of the Type 1 Immunotherapy Consortium. This is a network of scientists and research centres that Diabetes UK helped to set up to speed up research on these important treatments. The Consortium has transformed immunotherapy trials in the UK.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said:

“Professor David Dunger was one of the UK’s leading clinical researchers. His gentle, expert leadership will be much missed by colleagues at Diabetes UK, the Diabetes Research Steering Groups and the wider diabetes research community. His research on understanding immune phenotypes, the early determinants in the risk of type 2 and the impact of growth factors has driven forward our understanding of diabetes, and leaves a legacy from which we will learn for many years to come.”

Professor Dunger is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. 

His family and colleagues have set up a donation page to raise money for Diabetes UK in his memory. We are extremely grateful for this kind gesture. 

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