If your child has just been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you probably have questions about why and how it happened.
Scientists have the same questions. They want to understand more about why some people get Type 1 diabetes, and are working to find out the answers. These answers could help us find a way to prevent Type 1 diabetes from developing in the first place, or slow the progression of Type 1 diabetes in people who have already been diagnosed.
Researchers need people who have recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes to help.
Your family could help by taking part in a research trial that explores the immune attack in people with Type 1 diabetes. Here are answers to some of the questions you might have.
What has the immune system got to do with Type 1 diabetes?
The body's immune system protects us against infection and illness. In someone with Type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system has gone rogue and is attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Scientists are searching for ways to control the immune system. These are known as immunotherapies.
How could immunotherapies make a difference?
They could be used to change the behaviour of the immune system and protect against Type 1 diabetes, like a vaccine. So this research could lead to finding ways to prevent Type 1 diabetes from developing in those at risk, and slow the progression to Type 1 diabetes in those already diagnosed.
Why do researchers need people who are newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?
Most of the immunotherapy trials need people to take part within three to six months of being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It's important that people are still making some of their own insulin. This allows researchers to see if the therapy is working at protecting insulin-producing cells.
What are the benefits of taking part in a research trial?
Taking part could help your family understand more about Type 1 diabetes and how to manage it. You'll also be working with us to create a world where diabetes can do no harm.
What does taking part in a research trial involve?
Each trial is different. Some may involve collecting and analysing blood samples or DNA. Others may offer a device or treatment to test. The research team will always explain exactly what they’ll be doing and what’s expected from you. And you’re always allowed to leave the trial at any point for any reason.
What do we need to think about before taking part?
You should always talk it through with your child's healthcare team and the healthcare professionals involved in the study. They will explain exactly what the trial involves and will be able to answer any questions you have.
How do we take part?
The first step is to register with the Type 1 UK Immunotherapy Consortium. This is a group of organisations, including Diabetes UK, working together to connect people with Type 1 diabetes to researchers across the UK.
"I love taking part in research and I’m really pleased to do what I can to help potentially find a cure. I’m hoping it will benefit people with Type 1 diabetes in the future. And I hope I can keep meeting with the research team for many years to come."
Sophie, who has taken part in a clinicial trial since 2011