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Finding factors putting up resistance

Project summary

In type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance means that people can’t properly use the insulin they make, causing blood sugar levels to go up. Professor Gould will research whether these insulin problems are due to mystery factors in the blood. This may lead to new blood tests that can predict if someone is likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The tests may also pick up whether there are specific subtypes of type 2 diabetes that are more likely to respond to certain treatments.  

Background to research

Insulin allows glucose to move from the bloodstream into body cells. In type 2 diabetes, insulin doesn’t work properly making it harder to move glucose from the blood. This is known as insulin resistance. 

Professor Gould has been studying insulin resistance and has noticed from blood samples that different people with type 2 diabetes have different amounts of insulin resistance. But we don’t know which factors in the blood are responsible for causing varying levels of insulin resistance. 

Research aims

Professor Gould and his PhD student now aim to find out what these mystery factors in the blood are and how they work. They’re then hoping to use this information to make a new simple blood test that can tell us someone’s level of insulin resistance. 

To do this, they’ll study blood samples from 20 people living with type 2 diabetes to see which of a number of factors could be the ones causing the problems. Once they’ve found the factors, they’ll then start to get to grips with how they may be causing insulin resistance. 

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

There’s a real need to fully understand how insulin resistance happens and why it goes on to cause type 2 diabetes. 

This research could lead to a simpler test to find people at risk of type 2 diabetes and could lead to the development of new treatments that target the factors that cause it. Better still, the new tests may be able to tell us which type 2 diabetes treatments are best for individual people, depending on the specific factors in their bloodstream, helping us to personalise diabetes care. 

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