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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.

12 results found

Sleep disturbances and Type 2 diabetes

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

Dr Martin Rutter plans to work out if sleep problems can help to predict who’s at risk of Type 2 diabetes. He’ll also look at whether sleep patterns in people with Type 2 diabetes can affect their blood glucose control and risk of complications. This research could help to prevent some people developing Type 2 diabetes and improve the health of people living with the condition.

Not all fat’s the same: protecting against Type 2 diabetes

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

Dr Roberts is focusing on fat cells, with different types responsible for storing and burning fat. He hopes to find specific signals from ‘good’ beige fat cells, to see if they can improve fat metabolism and protect the body from Type 2 diabetes.

If successful, this research could inform the development of new protective Type 2 diabetes treatments.

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.

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.

Blocking immune cells that attack the pancreas in Type 1

Project:
Wales - Cardiff
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
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.

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.

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.

Stress hormones and risk of Type 2 diabetes

Project:
Midlands - Birmingham
Status:
Project available for adoption
Tags:
Causes
Project Summary

Our adrenal glands produce a stress hormone called cortisol. Mild autonomous cortisol excess, or MACE, is a condition where the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Too much cortisol has been linked to a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. Dr Prete wants to understand how MACE might cause Type 2 diabetes to develop, and find a way to screen people with MACE, to spot anyone with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes as early as possible.

Understanding the extremely early onset of Type 1 diabetes

Project:
Exeter - South West
Status:
Project available for adoption
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Causes
Project Summary

Dr Oram will study an extremely rare form of Type 1 diabetes, which develops in children before 12 months of age. He wants to understand how it is possible for the immune system to go rogue at such a young age. Dr Oram hopes that understanding why this rare form of Type 1 diabetes develops will shed a light on why Type 1 diabetes develops in general.

Does cholesterol influence how fat cells use insulin?

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

Professor Gould is looking to understand why fat and muscle cells don’t take in glucose properly in people with Type 2 diabetes, and what role cholesterol plays in that process. If successful, this research could help the development of new treatments to combat insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes.

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