An 11-year-old boy who has Type 1 diabetes had a unique chance to learn about research into his condition.
Daniel Lindley and his mum Karen from Lostwithiel in Cornwall joined our tour of the Islet Cell Biology lab at the University of Exeter Medical School.
Karen and Daniel met Professor Noel Morgan, director of the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science at Exeter Medical School and other researchers who have been funded by us.
The visitors learnt how Professor Morgan and his team have access to a rare set of pancreas samples, taken from people who had been recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. By studying them, the Exeter team hope to understand more about how and why the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. Understanding this could lead to new treatments to stop or prevent Type 1 diabetes.
Daniel, pictured above, had the opportunity to study clusters of insulin-producing cells, known as islets, through a microscope and even watch cells communicating with each other on a computer screen, thanks to special dyes that make them fluorescent.
The Fowey River Academy schoolboy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged six and, thanks to the Exeter lab tour, is now interested in a career in research.
He and his mother Karen Lindley are members of SKYD (Supporting Kernow's Young Diabetics), one of our local children’s and groups, which raises money for research into Type 1 diabetes.
After the visit, Karen said: “What they are doing in Exeter is unbelievable. I feel one hundred per cent positive that diabetes research is going somewhere and will help generations to come. And what was clear is that the researchers were not just there to show us around; they’re there for our future. They care.”
“The visit was incredibly valuable for our team and very humbling. There is nothing like being able to talk to people affected by diabetes. Their enthusiasm for our work was inspiring and made us realise that we have to keep doing this and do our best for people living with diabetes.”
Professor Noel Morgan
Dr Emily Burns, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said: “By funding critical research like Professor Morgan’s, we’re hoping to develop new insights into how Type 1 diabetes develops and what needs to be done to stop it.
“We’re only able to fund world-class research thanks to the generosity of our supporters, and we’re thrilled that Daniel and Karen had the opportunity to see it first-hand.”
Pictured top from left, Karen and Daniel Lindley with Professor Noel Morgan.
Take a look at our video to find out more about the lab tour.