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Our research projects

With more lives to change than ever, we can't stop now.

At any one time, we have around 120 research projects making discoveries across the UK. Each of these projects is only possible thanks to the generous support of our members, donors and local groups.

Your support means we can keep tackling the complications of diabetes and bring us one step closer to a cure.

We fund world class research

Our research studies are reviewed by experts and approved by the Diabetes UK Research Committee and our panel of people living with diabetes. So you're supporting research of the highest scientific quality, led by researchers with the skills and experience necessary to succeed.

Find a research project

You can use the box below to search for projects by the type of research involved or the region or research centre where they are taking place.

We invite you to read about the studies that interest you and to consider supporting them through our Adopt a Project scheme. Each project page includes details on whether a project is available to adopt and how long it has left to run. A showcase of all our research projects is also available to download.

16 results found

Investigating a potential cause of Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

It’s believed that one of the factors involved in the development of Type 1 diabetes could be a specific type of virus that infects pancreatic beta cells, causing the immune system to attack them. The aim of this project is to investigate key proteins that may be involved in the potential viral infection of beta cells.

The results will improve our understanding of the causes of Type 1 diabetes, ultimately informing future research into the prevention and treatment of the condition. 

Down to details of Type 1 immune attack

Project:
South West - Bristol
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks several different proteins in the pancreas. One of them is called ZnT8. It seems that people develop Type 1 diabetes at a slower rate if their immune system attacks ZnT8. Dr Gillespie would like to understand the biology behind this attack.

This project will help us understand Type 1 diabetes in more detail and may help researchers develop new therapies to stop the immune attack.

Protecting the blood vessels in diabetes

Project:
South West - Bristol
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Project Summary

Blood vessels are lined with endothelial cells, which have a protective coating. This coating can become damaged in diabetes, leading to the development of complications like stroke, heart attack and kidney disease. Dr Satchell will study the coating in more detail to see if it can be used as a treatment to protect blood vessels in people with diabetes.

Developing a Type 1 diabetes genetic risk score

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

Dr Michael Weedon and his colleagues are aiming to develop a simple genetic test that could predict the type of diabetes and the treatment required in young adults. They will combine this test with current methods for diagnosing diabetes, in order to produce a way to better classify diabetes. This could ensure that the correct treatment can be given very soon after people are recognised as having diabetes.

Using genetics to predict Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

There is a time window of several years between the start of the Type 1 diabetes immune attack and the appearance of symptoms.

Dr Richard Oram has developed a ‘risk calculator’ that uses information from genes linked to Type 1 diabetes to potentially find those at risk of the condition. Now, they want to test the calculator using data from several large studies.

This could help to find people at high risk of Type 1 diabetes in the future, and provide vital knowledge to help create treatments to stop it.

Improving diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in later life

Project:
South West
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Healthcare
Project Summary

In people over the age of 50, diagnosing the type of diabetes can be more difficult. Dr Jones aims to find features and tests that are best able to help diagnose Type 1 diabetes in later life. This could reduce the number of people who are misdiagnosed and ensure people with diabetes avoid receiving inappropriate advice and treatment.

Fighting toxic fatty acids in Type 2

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

Increased levels of fatty acid molecules in people with Type 2 diabetes are thought to contribute to the death and malfunction of insulin-producing beta cells. This research will clarify the role of different fatty acids when broken down in human beta cells and could identify potential new therapies to reduce fatty acid toxicity.

Racking our brains on energy balance

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Hypos
Project Summary

Dr Craig Beall aims to identify cell surface receptors that are activated by the energy-sensing enzyme AMPK in the brain. He wants to understand their role in the regulation of appetite, blood glucose and energy balance, which affect both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Understanding the immune attack in Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells move into the pancreas and attack insulin-producing beta cells, but we don’t currently known how or why.

Professor Morgan believes that the immune attack may not be the same in everyone with Type 1 diabetes and plans to find out how immune cells interact with each other to coordinate an attack against beta cells. This project will help us to understand how and why Type 1 diabetes develops.

Healthy fat genes

Project:
Exeter, South West
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Prevention
Project Summary

Dr Yaghootkar will study genes to understand what protects some obese people from developing Type 2 diabetes. She would like to understand how certain genes influence the way we store fat and if they can protect people from developing Type 2. Dr Yaghootkar hopes that understanding why certain people are naturally protected from Type 2 may help to develop better treatments and prevention strategies in the future.

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