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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.

114 results found

Follicular helper T cells: are they an indication of Type 1 diabetes?

Project:
London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Prevention
Towards a cure
Partnership
Project Summary

Professor Lucy Walker and her colleagues have found that a specific type of immune cell – called the follicular helper T cell – can trigger Type 1 diabetes in mice, and is more common in people with Type 1 diabetes.

The team now aims to understand exactly how follicular helper T cells cause Type 1 diabetes, and they will test new strategies to stop this from happening. They will test whether follicular helper T cells can be used as an early indication of the autoimmune response in Type 1 diabetes.

Can self-management therapies help with chronic pain?

Project:
London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Partnership
Project Summary

Current treatment options for chronic pain in diabetes (also called painful diabetic neuropathy) are not very effective. A PhD student in Professor McCracken’s lab will investigate whether self-management strategies that focus around psychology could be used to manage pain better.

If successful, it will form a base for developing psychological therapies for people with painful diabetic neuropathy.

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.

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.

Benefits of exercise for Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Midlands - Nottingham
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Exercise is known to provide health benefits for people living with Type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of developing Type 2. But we don’t yet understand why.

Dr Daniel Wilkinson hopes to understand what’s going on inside the body during exercise and why it has positive effects on our health. In the long term, this could help to develop new drugs which also provide these benefits for people with Type 2 diabetes. 

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.

Stopping thymic B cells in Type 1 diabetes

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire - York
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

The thymus helps to destroy ‘bad’ immune cells that attack the body, but this doesn’t happen in people with Type 1 diabetes. Dr Allison Green will find out why and how the thymus stops working properly in people with Type 1 diabetes, which could lead to treatments to prevent the condition.

A new ADDRESS for Type 1 trial recruitment

Project:
London
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Professor Desmond Johnston and his team will work closely with researchers across the UK to increase the value of ADDRESS (the After Diabetes Diagnosis Research Support System), which helps to recruit people newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and their families into trials of new immune therapies. 

Helper molecules to improve islet transplant

Project:
London
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Professor Peter Jones and his team will find out which molecules allow a particular kind of ‘helper cell’ to improve islet transplants.

Such molecules could be combined with islet transplants to improve their outcomes for people with Type 1 diabetes and make them more widely available.

Keeping kidney cells talking

Project:
Midlands - Lincoln
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Dr Hills wants to understand why kidney cells can’t function properly in people with diabetes. She’ll be looking at how high glucose levels, combined with a specific stress molecule, change the behaviour of kidney cells. This study could help to identify new drugs to prevent or treat kidney disease in the future.

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