Our research projects

We fund world class research

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

Every project is reviewed by experts and approved by our 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 to succeed.

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

Find a research project

Use the search tool to discover research taking place in your local area, or choose a subject or type of diabetes you’re interested in.

Each project page showcases the details of the research, and if you find a research project you could really get behind, you can support it in lots of different ways.

130 results found

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Subject

Preventing damage to the retina in diabetes

Project:
Northern Ireland
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1
Type 2
Complications
Healthcare
Northern Ireland
Project Summary

Having diabetes can lead to damaged blood vessels in the retina, caused by high blood sugar levels. This can lead to visual impairment and blindness. Dr Judith Lechner wants to find out if a protective protein can be used to repair and reduce this damage, and potentially be used as a new treatment option in the future.

Fuelling the heart effectively

Project:
London
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Type 2
London
Complications
Healthcare
Project Summary

In people with type 2 diabetes, inflammation inside the heart can change the way the heart uses fuel. This increases the risk of heart disease. Dr Dunja Aksentijevic wants to see if a new drug can reduce inflammation in the heart in type 2 diabetes by boosting the activity of the immune system. In the long term, this could lead to a new treatment for people with type 2 diabetes who are showing early signs of heart complications, to slow or stop them from progressing.

Breaking down blood clots to tackle complications

Project:
Leeds
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1 and Type 2
Complications
Northern & Yorkshire
England - Northern & Yorkshire
Project Summary

Blood clots are a key cause of heart attacks and strokes and are often more difficult to break down in people with diabetes. Dr Ramzi Ajjan will use state-of-the-art techniques to identify small proteins that could help to break clots down, and then test out their effects. This research could lead to new treatments that protect people with diabetes from life-threatening complications.

Unravelling DNA structures and diabetes risk

Project:
South East
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
England - Eastern
Eastern
Type 1 and Type 2
Causes
Project Summary

Our genes can put us at greater risk of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Dr Zoe Waller has found molecules in a specific region of our DNA that control whether genes involved in producing insulin are switched on or off. She now wants to understand how and why they do this. This could improve our understanding of the genetics behind diabetes and lead to new treatments to treat the conditions.

Earlier detection of diabetic retinopathy using non-invasive imaging

Project:
Northern Ireland - Belfast
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Type 1 and Type 2
Northern Ireland
Innovation
Project Summary

Dr Ruth Hogg and her team will develop new software to assess high resolution images of the blood vessels in the retina, produced using a new non-invasive imaging method called OCT-A.

The study will increase our understanding of the earlier stages of diabetic retinopathy and how blood vessels in the retina change, allowing for earlier diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy. 

The DiRECT route to Type 2 remission?

Project:
Scotland (Glasgow), and Northern and Yorkshire (Newcastle)
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Scotland
Type 2
Northern & Yorkshire
England
Remission
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.

Developing a Type 1 diabetes genetic risk score

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1
South West
England
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.

STAT6 and beta cells in Type 1

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Type 1
England
England - Eastern
Eastern
Project Summary

Professor Noel Morgan and his colleagues will study the role of protein STAT6 in beta cell health and survival and investigate the possibility that loss of this protein may contribute to beta cell death in Type 1 diabetes.

Using genetics to predict Type 1 diabetes

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
South West
Type 1
Causes
England
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.

Blocking immune cells that attack the pancreas in Type 1

Project:
Wales - Cardiff
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Type 1
Causes
Wales
Towards a cure
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells called ‘B cells’ move into the pancreas and are involved in the destruction of insulin-producing cells. Professor Susan Wong wants to work out why they do this. Her team will study a protein found on B cells and look for differences between people with and without Type 1 diabetes. This could help us develop treatments that stop the immune attack and prevent this condition.

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