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Lincoln research team opens lab for people with diabetes

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Diabetes UK-funded researcher Dr Mike Christie, at theUniversity of Lincoln, has opened the doors to his lab for one day to people affected byType 1 diabetes

The charity’s supporters, many who live with the condition themselves, were shown ground-breakingdiabetes researchhappening first-hand. Dr Christie studies the rogue immune system responsible for attacking the pancreas in people with Type 1 diabetes.

His research aims to provide insight into how the immune attack might be stopped, so that new treatments to help prevent or stop Type 1 diabetes can be developed in the future. Dr Christie’s work is just one of over 120 studies that Diabetes UK is supporting all over the country, with over £450,000 worth of that research happening in Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences right now.

Each project is helping to transform the treatment and prevention of all forms of diabetes, ultimately leading us towards a cure. Diabetes UK relies on public support to fund scientists like Dr Christie, spending around £7 million every year on much needed diabetes research. 

Dr Christie said: “My research focuses on trying to stop the rogue immune attack that happens in people with Type 1 diabetes, so that we can find ways to prevent this condition from developing in the future."

Dr Matthew Simmonds, from the University of Lincoln, was also on hand to explain his research into islet transplants, an important treatment option for some people with Type 1 diabetes.

Dr Simmonds is part of Diabetes UK’s Innovator in Diabetes (IDia) programme; a course designed to support early career scientists to become the next leaders in diabetes research.

Diabetes UK has supported my work for many years, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to open my doors and explain what we do first hand to those it affects most.

Dr Christie

Liz Aldridge from the Diabetes UK Lincoln and District Local Group attended the tour and said: “I returned home thinking that I should really devote the rest of my life to raising (and giving) money for research.  

"I was so impressed by the dedication of the researchers.

“I found the day inspiring and am really grateful for the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing research into Type 1 diabetes which is happening here on our doorstep.” 

Amazing representatives of Diabetes UK local support groups and individual fundraisers from across the East Midlands were invited to this unique day. Between them they raised more than £45,000 for the charity last year.

It is estimated that 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1 and 90 per cent haveType 2.  People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. The exact causes of the condition are unknown, but it’s not related to lifestyle factors and cannot currently be prevented. Type 1 diabetes usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. It is treated with daily insulin doses – taken by either injection or using an insulin pump. 

Dr Emily Burns, Diabetes UK Research Communications Manager, said: “We’re indebted to our supporters for helping us fund the incredible work of scientists like Dr Christie, helping to improve the lives of people living with diabetes. We’re really pleased that we got the opportunity to say thank you to some of our supporters, who were able to see where our funding goes first hand. 

“By funding critical research like this, we’re bringing about life-changing steps in the care, treatment and prevention of diabetes. Ultimately, we want to reach a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

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