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Our Research Impact

For more than 85 years, we’ve been at the forefront of diabetes research. Funding passionate scientists to make discoveries that have transformed the lives of everyone affected by diabetes in the UK, and millions more across the world.  

From funding the devices that make living with diabetes easier. To shaping care to reduce the risk of diabetes complications and save lives. To innovating new treatments that tackle the root causes of diabetes and move us closer to a cure. Our research has been behind some of the biggest advances in diabetes care and treatment since the discovery of insulin.  

diabetes researchers in lab

The breakthroughs we made happen 

Explore the stories of how the research you’ve helped fund has revolutionised life for people with diabetes.  

Read: Transforming lives through research (PDF, 36,666KB)

None of these extraordinary breakthroughs would be possible without our supporters. It’s your generosity that allows us to fund research and will fuel our scientists to push even harder, and change more lives in the future. 

Dr Sheila Reith

We funded the first insulin pen

Injecting insulin used to mean glass syringes and steel needles. That all changed after we supported a trial to test the world’s first insulin pen, making life easier for the millions who take insulin.   
man testing with libre

We made checking blood sugars simple

Our research pioneered the first handheld blood glucose meter, putting urine testing into retirement. Then decades later we proved flash glucose monitoring could radically improve lives.
DAFNE course

We developed diabetes education courses

We developed a life-changing type 1 diabetes education course. Then worked to make sure it was rolled out nationwide, giving people the skills and confidence to live well with their diabetes.
We’re making the artificial pancreas a reality

We’re making the artificial pancreas a reality

We funded the UK’s first artificial pancreas, and invested in decades of research to improve it and build the evidence to show it could transform how people manage their diabetes.
getting the right diagnosis

We’re getting people the right diagnosis

Our research uncovered the genetic causes of rare forms of diabetes, and better ways to distinguish between type 1 and type 2. It’s meant more people get the right diabetes diagnosis and treatment.
blood pressure taken

We’ve reduced the risk of complications

A landmark trial we supported showed for the first time that managing blood sugar levels and blood pressure slashes the risk of complications. The findings transformed diabetes care worldwide.
eye screening

We’re tackling sight loss

We tested a better way to screen for early signs of eye damage. It led to a nationwide eye screening programme that has reduced the risk sight loss for millions of people with diabetes in the UK.
heart attack doctor

We’re stopping heart attacks and stroke

A major trial we funded showed the power of a cholesterol lowering drug, called statins. They’re now used worldwide to reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
foot care in hospital

We’re preventing amputations

In 1981, we helped to set up the UK’s first ever diabetic foot clinic. It showed that with the right experts and specialist care many devastating amputations could be avoided.
type 1 diabetes research

We’re getting closer to a cure for type 1

Our scientists made transplants of donor insulin-making cells possible in the UK. Now we’re supercharging progress to grow new cells in the lab or directly inside the body.
professor roy taylor

We’re putting type 2 diabetes into remission

Our DiRECT trial proved a weight management programme could help people with type 2 diabetes go into remission and stay there. Now remission programmes are being rolled out through the NHS.
type 1 diabetes research

We’re tackling the root cause of type 1

We’ve built the knowledge and networks to test new treatments that tackle the type 1 immune system attack. Immunotherapies could prevent, delay or slow the advance of type 1 diabetes.
man sits in garden

We’re discovering new causes of type 2

Our research revealed more about the complex mix of genetic, biological and environmental factors at the root of type 2 diabetes.
nurses sitting round table

Get involved in diabetes research

Here's how you can get involved in our scientists' work to make sure that we can keeping making an impact in advancing diabetes research.
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