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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

Can chilli treat chronic foot pain?

Project:
London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
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
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.

Understanding the growth of babies during pregnancy in women with Type 1 diabetes

Project:
Eastern - Cambridge
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Pregnancy
Project Summary

Women with Type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of having large babies, which can lead to complications during pregnancy. Dr Stewart wants to explore how chemicals involved in metabolism during pregnancy may be linked to this risk.

This could help to improve the management of Type 1 diabetes during pregnancy, and improve the health of pregnant women with Type 1 and their children.

Maintaining islet cell function

Project:
England – London
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Innovation
Project Summary

In diabetes, insulin-producing beta cells are either destroyed or stop working properly. Professor Persaud will investigate the role of a protein found on beta cells in improving the effectiveness of islet transplants and increasing beta cell numbers. This could lead to new and improved treatments for both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. 
 

ReTUNEing Type 2 diabetes remission

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

Obesity is a key risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with this condition is overweight.

Professor Taylor will study whether weight loss in people with Type 2 diabetes who aren’t obese can put their condition into remission. If the researchers confirm this, it could change the advice given to people with Type 2 of a normal weight and help them live well for longer.  

Reducing calories in gestational diabetes

Project:
Eastern - Cambridge
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Project Summary

Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women and can cause complications throughout pregnancy and birth. It’s linked to mothers being overweight or obese, and can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life for both the mother and child.

Dr Claire Meek believes that reducing calories during pregnancy could improve the management of gestational diabetes, delivery of the baby and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Small molecules to stop the immune attack

Project:
Midlands - Birmingham
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Towards a cure
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, immune cells called T cells attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T cells recognise five specific molecules on beta cells, and Dr Parth Narendran wants to identify the exact regions of the molecules involved. This could help scientists to develop more accurate diagnosis tools, and find ways to prevent Type 1 or stop it progressing. 

Gut hormones to improve fertility in Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Northern Ireland - Ulster
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Pregnancy
Project Summary

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes can reduce fertility in women. Some women can regain their ability to have children after having gastric bypass surgery, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Dr Moffett wants to understand how infertility develops in people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes, and how it could be reversed.

Improving testing for gestational diabetes

Project:
Wales - Swansea
Status:
Project is fully funded
Tags:
Project Summary

Gestational diabetes is linked to a higher risk of complications during birth, as well as a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes for both the mother and baby later on in life. Professor Thornton hopes to develop a quicker, cheaper and more informative test for diagnosing gestational diabetes. In the future, this could reduce the time and cost of diagnosis, as well as help to personalise future treatments for women with gestational diabetes.

Understanding how glucose enters a cell

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

In people with Type 2 diabetes, fat and muscle cells can’t absorb glucose from the blood as well as they usually can. This is called insulin resistance and can lead to high levels of glucose in the blood. A molecule called GLUT4 helps glucose to leave the blood and enter fat and muscle cells, but we don’t know exactly how it works. Understanding this could help to develop new drugs to prevent insulin resistance in people with or at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

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