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We’re funding new research into diabetes and ageing


Scientists from the UK and Israel will join forces to carry out pioneering research into the relationship between diabetes and ageing. The projects could help people to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes in later life and help people with Type 1 diabetes to stay healthy as they get older.

We’re co-funding new cutting-edge research projects with the Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange (BIRAX). The projects aim to unpick the role that ageing plays in driving the development of Type 2 diabetes and putting people with Type 1 diabetes at higher risk of bone fractures.

Helping people with diabetes age healthily has been identified by the diabetes Clinical Studies Groups as a key priority for future research. And with around 35% of people in the UK with diabetes now over the age of 70, it’s vital we understand more about the impact of ageing.

As we get older, insulin-producing beta cells in our pancreas change. Professor Masashi Narita, at the University of Cambridge, will use our new funding to work with a team in Israel to find out how and why these changes are linked to Type 2 diabetes.

This research could help us to understand why our risk of Type 2 diabetes increases in later life. In the future, it could lead to the development of new treatments to combat the effects of ageing on beta cells, and help to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

You can read more about Professor Narita’s project.

The new funding will also support Professor Lynne Cox, at the University of Oxford, to investigate why people with Type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of bone fractures as they get older.

She has discovered that bone cells appear to age earlier in some people with Type 1 diabetes, which can make fractures more likely. Professor Cox will now work with scientists in Israel to uncover the root cause of why bone cells age, and develop treatments that improve bone strength and prevent fractures. This could help people with Type 1 diabetes to stay healthy as they get older.

Find out more about this project.

A global research community

BIRAX is a research initiative between the British Council and British Embassy in Israel, bringing together top scientists from the UK and Israel to tackle some of the world’s most challenging health conditions.

“International collaboration in research is so important if we’re to make the greatest possible difference for people with diabetes. By working together and sharing expertise, we can provide a boost to the global research community and drive forward our understanding of ageing in people living with diabetes.

“We hope that these new projects will help us to find better treatments, prevent complications and support people to live well with their diabetes for longer.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, our Director of Research



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