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Your voice driving research: remission from type 2 diabetes

If research is going to lead to breakthroughs in treatment, prevention and care you want, you need a seat at the table. We want people living with or at risk of diabetes to speak directly to researchers.

That’s why we set up our research involvement initiatives. We want to bring researchers, healthcare professionals, research funders and people living with diabetes together. As a team, they work out what needs to happen to bring about the change people living with, or at risk of, diabetes want to see.

But don’t take our word for it. Listen to the people living with diabetes involved in guiding research and the researchers and funders they influenced.

Want to guide research? We are currently recruiting here

What did people living with diabetes say?

Carolyn, a Diabetes Research Steering Group member in remission from type 2 diabetes:

“We can beat it”. This is what my GP said to me when he told me I had Type 2 Diabetes. It was a wake-up call and I have been lucky as lifestyle changes meant I did beat it; I kicked diabetes into remission. There is, though, so much we still need know about remission. We need to know more about the longer term outcomes of remission – whether or not it reduces the risk of complications, and different ways you can go into remission so more people have the opportunity. I may have “beaten” diabetes, but these questions mean I can’t take it for granted.

How did the research community react?

Dr Elizabeth Morris, a researcher at the University of Oxford specialising in dietary and behaviour change:

As a GP, I have seen the huge impact that type 2 diabetes- from receiving a new diagnosis, to living with it long term - can have on people’s lives. Speaking with people living with diabetes at the Diabetes Remission Workshop helped me to understand how important the prospect of remission is, and the need to design different ways for individual people to try to approach this goal. Their suggestions shaped the design of a new research proposal focused on different approaches to remission. This experience also inspired me to start a new public engagement project collaborating with people with diabetes, to give more people a chance for their voices to be heard, and help more researchers and clinicians understand and learn from their experiences.

Read more about her work here.

How did Diabetes UK and other funders of research respond?

Anna, Assistant Director of Research Strategy and Partnership at Diabetes UK:

NIHR, like Diabetes UK, is committed to funding research that matters to the people affect-ed. So I am delighted that we have been able to partner on a call for research focused on new approaches to the remission of type 2 diabetes. We know that this matters to people with type 2 diabetes, with the number one question in a recent priority setting partnership being ‘Can Type 2 diabetes be cured or reversed, what is the best way to achieve this and is there a point beyond which the condition can't be reversed?”

Raj, Assistant Director of Programme Grants for Applied Research, NIHR: 

NIHR through its Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme was delighted to partner with Diabetes UK to help tackle this complex condition. The collaboration shines a spotlight on the mutual benefits of NIHR and the charity working together, the most attractive feature was the opportunity to fund research prioritised by patients, and hence offer the potential to make a real difference to the lives of people living with diabetes.

Read more about the Diabetes-NIHR partnership here

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