Identifying the genetic characteristics of diabetes to find new treatments

Co-funded by JDRF

Professor Neil Hanley - Professor of Medicine & Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science, Manchester University 

Professor Benjamin Glaser - Head – Endocrinology and Metabolism Service, Hadassah – Hebrew University  

387 million people are living with diabetes worldwide. This is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035.

Our bodies need insulin to turn glucose into energy. When the body doesn’t produce insulin this is type-1 diabetes. It means that beta-cells which produce insulin have been attacked by the body’s own immune system.  Increasing the number of working beta-cells is a huge focus of diabetes research. It has been proven difficult to promote beta-cells division in people.

There are in fact times when these beta cells do divide naturally (during embryo development and in a rare genetic disease). This project will identify the genetic characteristics in these two stages to see if it can be replicated allowing us to make adult beta-cells divide healthily.