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We put £2.6 million into new research


We have committed to invest £2.6 million in 19 brand new projects which aim to make life-changing improvements in diabetes care, and reduce people’s risk of Type 2 diabetes. 

The funding will be given to projects looking into Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. In one of these projects, Dr Freya Harrison, from the University of Warwick, will be using medieval remedies to find new sources of antibiotics. She has already discovered a combination that can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the lab. Dr Harrison will study this remedy further to investigate how it works and if it could be used to treat infected foot ulcers in the future. 

There are more than 20 leg, foot and toe amputations each day due to diabetes, four out of five of which could be prevented. This research hopes to reduce the number of diabetes-related amputations and cases of sepsis, by treating foot ulcer infections more effectively. 

Dr Freya Harrison said: “I am delighted to have been awarded a research grant from Diabetes UK. Diabetes foot complications can be incredibly serious and foot ulcers don’t always respond well to currently available antibiotics, so there’s a real need to find new ones. I hope my research will help us do this, and in the future could reduce amputations and improve the quality of people with diabetes’ lives”.

Dr Martin Rutter, from the University of Manchester, has also been awarded some of our funding to find out if sleep problems can help predict who might be  at risk of Type 2 diabetes. He will also look at whether sleep patterns in people with Type 2 diabetes can affect their blood glucose control, and their risk of serious diabetes-related complications, such as amputation, heart disease and blindness.  

He hopes this research could help to better identify people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes, so they can be supported to lower their risk. It could also potentially open up new ways to help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their condition and reduce their risk of complications. 

Dr Rutter said: “More people than ever are living with, and at high risk of developing, Type 2 diabetes. I hope this funding from Diabetes UK, focusing on sleep, will help us to find new ways to prevent people from getting Type 2 diabetes, and improve the health of those with the condition.”

We have been funding research for more than 80 years, leading to landmark discoveries which have transformed the lives of millions of people with diabetes. As the leading charitable funder of diabetes research in the UK, the charity continues to improve lives through pioneering research into all forms of diabetes and diabetes-related complications. 

This research is now more important than ever before, as our recent figures show the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes has doubled over the last 20 years. Now almost 3.7 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 12.3 million are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. 

Our director of research Dr Elizabeth Robertson said: “Our research funding has been behind some of the greatest transformations in diabetes care over the past 80 years, but we recognise there is still a great deal to do. That’s why we continue to invest in high quality diabetes research year on year. 

“We hope that these new projects will help us to keep improving lives by finding better treatments, preventing diabetes complications and supporting people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. This continued investment in new research has only been possible thanks to our generous supporters, donors and members.”

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