MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Menu

Significant research grant awarded for Type 1 diabetes research

October 2017: Professors Helen Colhoun and Paul McKeigue receive award from Diabetes UK for Type 1 diabetes research.

Diabetes UK, the leading UK charity for people affected by diabetes, has awarded £404,000 to Professors Helen Colhoun and Paul McKeigue. They will study how blood glucose levels in individuals with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) correlate with age and socio-demographic data, as well as exploring the involvement of these data in the development of acute and chronic complications.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK said:

At Diabetes UK we’re committed to funding the best research with the highest potential to bring real benefit to people with diabetes. Professor Colhoun’s project could help identify people with Type 1 diabetes, who may benefit from greater support in managing their blood glucose levels and help them reduce their risk of debilitating complications. We are delighted to be able to fund Professor Colhoun’s project and look forward to seeing what her research uncovers.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when glucose levels in the blood remain unregulated because the body does not produce enough insulin. The cause of T1DM is unknown, but both genetic and environmental factors play a role.

Apple, sugar cubes and syringe with insulin

The condition is diagnosed and monitored by measuring the amount of glucose present in blood, or by obtaining the proportion of red blood cells that have glucose molecules attached (glycated haemoglobin). Higher amounts of glycated haemoglobin have been associated with cardiovascular, kidney, and peripheral nerve diseases, as well as retinal conditions that can lead to vision loss.

In Scotland, electronic health care data are available for all ~30,000 individuals with T1DM. Using these data, Professors Colhoun and McKeigue will test whether there are different trends in the variation in glucose levels between people belonging to different socio-demographic strata. They hope to identify additional factors that are significantly associated with changes to glucose levels over time. They will also track chronic or acute complications due to T1DM in these individuals over the next 10 years in order to determine whether age, sex and other conditions influence the development of these complications.

This research could provide new avenues of T1DM prevention or management, contributing to the evidence base for balancing the benefits and the potential adverse effects of tightly regulating blood glucose levels.

Professor Colhoun said:

We are delighted to have been awarded these research funds from Diabetes UK. We look forward to being able to improve the evidence base for this fundamental question in diabetes management, namely, proving current estimates of the strength of relationship between glucose control and outcomes in diabetes

Related Links

Colhoun Research Group

Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK funding announcement