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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.

9 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.

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. 

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.

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. 

New NHS teams for Type 1 vaccine trials

Project:
Wales - Cardiff
Status:
Project is fully funded
Tags:
Prevention
Towards a cure
Partnership
Project Summary

Professor Colin Dayan and his team will work to set up, train and maintain a network of 15 Type 1 vaccine research teams across the UK, who will help recruit for and run clinical trials of the new therapies. They will also help train the doctors and researchers who will lead trials of new immune therapies in the future.

Turning stem cells into beta cells

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

In diabetes, insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed or stop working properly. New beta cells can be made in a lab, and Dr Hill wants to find ways to improve this process. This could help scientists to improve the effectiveness of islet cell transplants to treat Type 1 and 2 diabetes.

A new approach to islet transplants

Project:
Northern & Yorkshire
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Towards a cure
Project Summary

Professor James Shaw will work with researchers from Israel to pioneer a new approach that involves transplanting insulin-producing islets with cells that improve blood vessel growth and oxygen supply. Ultimately, this technique could improve the effectiveness of islet transplants and help to free people with Type 1 diabetes from insulin with a single transplant.

Gene therapy to target T cells in Type 1

Project:
Cardiff, Wales
Status:
Project not available for adoption
Tags:
Prevention
Towards a cure
Project Summary

In Type 1 diabetes, T cells of the immune system destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Professor Susan Wong will work to develop a gene therapy to encourage the body’s own immune system to destroy the ‘bad’ T cells and protect against Type 1 diabetes.

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