Today the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge, a ground-breaking partnership between the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK and JDRF UK, has announced funding of a research project led from the University, in a bid to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Professor David Hodson and his team will receive £2.55 million to explore how insulin-boosting molecules, which sit on the surface of beta cells, could be harnessed to create better performing lab-grown beta cells. They will also explore if the specialised molecules could help to protect transplanted beta cells from the immune system, or trigger new beta cells to grow inside the pancreas.
Beta cell therapies have the potential to transform how we treat type 1 diabetes and could form part of a cure. Bringing back people with type 1 diabetes’ ability to make their own insulin would mean that individuals with the condition would no longer need to use insulin injections and pumps, reduce the need for constant blood sugar monitoring and could help to prevent diabetes complications.
This investment is thanks to the momentous £50 million pledge from the Steve Morgan Foundation to accelerate promising research that could unlock life-changing new treatments for type 1 diabetes.
Oxford University is one of six universities leading the new projects. Multidisciplinary teams across the UK headed by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, Cardiff University and King’s College London have also been awarded prestigious grants, with the six projects totalling over £13 million.
Professor David Hodson, said:
During the past decade, a lot of our work has focused on insulin-boosting molecules found on beta cells, called incretin receptors, which have become major drug targets for type 2 diabetes and obesity therapy. Using our knowledge and innovative technologies, we will now translate our work in type 2 diabetes and leverage the potential of incretin receptors in the type 1 diabetes space.
We’ve developed an ambitious three-prong research programme that spans beta cell replacement, protection and regeneration, so as to give us the best chance of driving discoveries that could make these treatments available for people living with type 1 diabetes.
Read more on the Diabetes UK website.