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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.

17 results found

The cost-effectiveness of DiRECT’s Type 2 remission

Project:
Scotland - Glasgow
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Remission
Project Summary

The DiRECT trial is finding out whether a weight management programme, including a low-calorie diet, can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long-term. This project will look at the cost effectiveness of this programme when delivered through GP care.

This will give the NHS important information to help work out if this kind of treatment could be offered to people with Type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Exploring blood glucose control in Type 1 diabetes

Project:
Scotland - Edinburgh
Status:
Project is fully funded
Tags:
Project Summary

Professor Colhoun hopes to understand how blood glucose control in Type 1 diabetes changes over time in different groups of people. These insights could help us find ways to improve blood glucose levels in people with Type 1 diabetes.

Why do blood vessels in the kidneys narrow?

Project:
Scotland - Edinburgh
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Project Summary

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease, but we don’t fully understand how it develops. Dr Robert Menzies wants to study a specific molecule, called P2X7R, to see if it’s responsible for the narrowing of the small blood vessels at the early stages of kidney disease. This research would help us to better understand how kidney disease develops, so we can find new ways to treat it.

Are SGLT2 inhibitors safe and effective for people with Type 2?

Project:
Scotland - Edinburgh
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Healthcare
Project Summary

People with Type 2 diabetes can use drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors to help them manage their blood glucose levels. But unanswered questions remain around how effective and safe they are in real life. Dr Thomas Caparrotta will study large amounts of data from people using these drugs in the real world, to provide important evidence on their effects. This will help doctors and people with Type 2 diabetes to make decisions about the best treatment for them.

Keeping mitochondria healthy to prevent Type 2

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Prevention
Project Summary

High levels of fat can cause mitochondria (important structures inside our cells that burn fuel) to become stressed and break down. This is linked to inflammation and insulin resistance: two important features of Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Hundal wants to know if, and how, unsaturated fats or metformin might protect the mitochondria and keep insulin resistance at bay. In the future, this could help to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing.

The role of dietary fat in insulin resistance

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

Increased levels of a molecule called DAG (found in dietary fat) has been shown to cause insulin resistance in muscle cells, by disrupting important signals. Increased dietary fat also appears to reduce the number of cave-like structures (formed by proteins called caveolins) on the surface of cells.

The aim of this project is to investigate the connection between the cave-like structures, DAG and insulin resistance. This will improve our understanding of how insulin resistance happens in people with Type 2 diabetes, and could inform future strategies for managing and treating the condition.

The DiRECT route to Type 2 remission?

Project:
Scotland (Glasgow), and Northern and Yorkshire (Newcastle)
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

With support from our largest ever research grant, Professors Mike Lean and Roy Taylor will investigate if a low-calorie diet, alongside weight management support, can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long-term. 

Their vital work will find out if a low-calorie, diet-based treatment should be offered as a routine treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In the future, this could help to reduce the number of people living with Type 2 diabetes.

Get all the latest news on how the low-calorie diet research is going so far.

Exercise regime to bring back hypo awareness

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Some people with Type 1 diabetes lose the ability to tell when their blood glucose levels are going too low. Dr Catriona Farrell will study whether we can use short bursts of high intensity exercise to improve awareness of very low blood glucose levels. Dr Farrell hopes that this method could help to protect people from the consequences of being unaware of your low blood glucose.

Relating glucose intake in muscle to Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Current research into insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes focuses on how insulin works inside cells, but Dr Kang is investigating the role of insulin on the outside.

Muscle cells are surrounded by a structure known as the extracellular matrix, and she believes that changes to this structure could affect how well muscle cells can take in glucose. If successful, this could lead to the development of new treatments to combat insulin resistance.

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