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.

122 results found

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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. 

Keeping mitochondria healthy to prevent Type 2

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Type 2
Scotland
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 DiRECT route to Type 2 remission?

Project:
Scotland (Glasgow), and Northern and Yorkshire (Newcastle)
Status:
Project 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.

The role of dietary fat in insulin resistance

Project:
Scotland - Dundee
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Scotland
Type 2
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.

Taking account of ACC1 in beta cells

Project:
South East - Oxford
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Type 1 and Type 2
South East
England
England - South East
Project Summary

Dr Cantley will use state-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cell biology to study the mechanisms by which ACC1, a critically important enzyme, influences the size and number of beta cells. His work will improve knowledge of beta cells and how they might be targeted with new therapies.

Developing a Type 1 diabetes genetic risk score

Project:
South West - Exeter
Status:
Project 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.

Improving diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in later life

Project:
South West
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
South West
Healthcare
England
Type 1
Type 1 and Type 2
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.

Can chilli treat chronic foot pain?

Project:
London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
London
Type 1 and Type 2
Complications
Project Summary

Chronic pain in the feet, caused by nerve damage, is a debilitating complication of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Professor Anand will test if a new treatment (called the capsaicin 8 percent patch) can reduce pain and potentially reverse nerve damage. If successful, this treatment could help to reduce the effects of chronic pain and improve quality of life in people with diabetes.

Speeding up wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers

Project:
Scotland - Aberdeen
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Complications
Type 1 and Type 2
Scotland
Project Summary

Scientists know that levels of a particular protein (called PTP1B) found in immune cells are higher in diabetic foot ulcers. Professor Delibegovic will find out if reducing the activity of PTP1B can speed up the healing process in foot ulcers.

This research could lead to the development of new treatments and reduce the risk of lower-limb amputations.

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