The Top 10 research priorities for Type 1 diabetes
The Top 10 research priorities for Type 1 diabetes listed below were published in 2011, and they're available to diabetes researchers and UK research funders.
- Is it possible to constantly and accurately monitor blood sugar levels, in people with Type 1 diabetes, with a discrete device (non-invasive or invasive)?
- Is insulin pump therapy effective? (Immediate vs deferred pump, and comparing outcomes with multiple injections.)
- Is an artificial pancreas for Type 1 diabetes (closed-loop system) effective?
- What are the characteristics of the best Type 1 diabetes patient education programmes (from diagnosis to long-term care) and do they improve outcomes?
- What are the cognitive and psychological effects of living with Type 1 diabetes?
- How can awareness of and prevention of hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetes be improved?
- How tightly controlled do fluctuations in blood glucose levels need to be to reduce the risk of developing complications in people with Type 1 diabetes?
- Does treatment of Type 1 diabetics by specialists (eg doctors, nurses, dietitians, podiatrists, ophthalmologists and psychologists) trained in person-centred skills provide better blood glucose control, patient satisfaction and self-confidence in management of Type 1 diabetes, compared to treatment by non-specialists with standard skills?
- What makes self-management successful for some people with Type 1 diabetes, and not others?
- Which insulins are safest and have the fewest (long-term) adverse effects?
Have the Type 1 diabetes research priorities been addressed?
Researchers around the world are working to address the research priorities of Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes UK doesn’t have all the answers yet, but we will be working hard to ensure that researchers and research funders use these priorities.
The priorities of people with Type 1 diabetes are very important to us, and we may review the current list of priorities in the next few years, to make sure that it’s still a true reflection. We're currently supporting work to answer a number of the priorities.
Priority 3: Is an artificial pancreas (closed-loop system) effective for Type 1 diabetes?
Diabetes UK is proud to be supporting groundbreaking research aiming to develop and testan artificial pancreas device in adults with Type 1 diabetes. Dr Roman Hovorka, at the University of Cambridge, is working to generate an artificial pancreas.
He’s evaluating its ability to improve blood glucose control at home and reduce the risk of overnight hypos.
Dr Helen Murphy, also at the University of Cambridge, is adapting the artificial pancreas to control blood glucose levels during pregnancy. This research could drastically reduce cases of stillbirth and mortality rates among pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes.
Priority 6: How can awareness of and prevention of hypoglycaemia in Type 1 diabetes be improved?
During hypoglycaemia, people who are unaware of the symptoms of low blood glucose (hypo unawareness) show changes in brain activity, suggesting that they perceive hypos as less unpleasant than people with Type 1 diabetes who are hypo aware.
We are currently funding Dr Pratik Choudhary’s work, at King’s College London, investigating effective strategies for treating hypo unawareness in Type 1 diabetes.
Dr Choudhary is using advanced imaging techniques to find out if the specific brain activity can be reversed when hypos are avoided, ultimately restoring awareness.
Findings from this study could contribute to the development of treatments for hypo unawareness, to reduce the burden of this condition on people with diabetes.
This Priority Setting Partnership was financially supported by the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust, and had practical support from the NIHR Diabetes Research Network, Diabetes UK, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, NHS Evidence – diabetes and the Scottish Diabetes Research Network. It was established in early 2010.