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Freemasons award £120,000 to Diabetes UK research

Freemasons have awarded Diabetes UK £120,000, to help fund research into finding a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes. Two grant-making charities funded by Freemasons and their families have jointly given this award.

The generous grant will help support the work of Diabetes UK Clinical Research Training Fellow Dr Yuk-Fun Liu, at Kings College London, who is looking into the effectiveness of a potential vaccine for Type 1 diabetes.

Investigation of vaccine

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body cannot produce insulin, because the immune system mistakenly targets and destroys healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. There is currently no known cure or prevention for the condition, although it is controlled by administering insulin by injection or intravenous pump.

Protection for insulin-producing cells

In recent years, researchers in the field of immunology have made progress in the development of a vaccine to protect the insulin-producing cells from being destroyed. Preserving even a few of these cells could potentially make a huge difference to people with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes, by helping them retain their ability to regulate blood glucose.

Second series of trials

A second series of trials for the vaccine will soon be underway in people who have recently developed the condition. The research funded by the Freemason grant will enable Dr Yuk-Fun Liu to investigate how the vaccine works, in order to help develop and refine it.

"Exciting new research"

Dr. Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said, "This grant will enable Diabetes UK to fund extremely important work into the prevention of Type 1 diabetes. This research will help us to understand a lot more about the way the condition develops and how we may be able to intervene and prevent it. We are very interested in seeing the results of this exciting new research and reporting on its possible impact for people’s long-term health.

"We are extremely grateful to Freemasons and the Masonic charities for acknowledging the difference we make to people with diabetes, and for contributing to our research in this way."

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity awarded £60,000 of the grant, and a further £60,000 was awarded by the Masonic Samaritan Fund. The grant covers a two-year period of research.

Search for improved treatments

Speaking on behalf of both Masonic charities, Laura Chapman, Chief Executive of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity said, "The search for improved treatments for diabetes, and an eventual cure, are of great importance to Freemasons. It is with pleasure that we join with the Masonic Samaritan Fund to fund this research, which we hope will lead to a fantastic development for people with Type 1 diabetes."

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