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Treatment research

Treating type 1 means helping people achieve better glucose control, with less effort. It also means looking for ways to prevent or cure the complications that can develop from living with type 1. Our research is improving lives by developing new ways to treat type 1 diabetes, until we find a cure.
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.08.2023

Hybrid closed loop technology

Technologies to deliver insulin automatically when it is needed

Illustration of the hybrid closed loop technology system, funded as part of treatment research for type 1 diabetes by JDRF.

Technologies to treat type 1 diabetes have already come a long way. We now have pumps that can deliver insulin automatically, and sensors that can give real-time measurements of blood glucose levels.

Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors reduce some of the mental burden of living with type 1 but still require input from the wearer. Now, new hybrid closed loop technology, which JDRF supporters have helped fund, has been developed to reduce this burden even further.

Hybrid closed loop systems link a continuous glucose monitor with an insulin pump via a smartphone app. The sophisticated system allows the insulin pump to automatically deliver the right dose of insulin at the right time based on readings from the glucose sensor.

Find out more about our hybrid closed loop technology research.

Complications of type 1 diabetes

New ways to prevent, detect and treat the complications that living with type 1 can bring

A woman with type 1 diabetes who is walking down the street with two friends. Her friends are supporting her as she has visual difficulties - a complication of the condition. JDRF are funding research into complications and treatments for type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can lead to long term damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart, which we refer to as the complications of type 1. These complications are often associated with unstable blood glucose levels, so it’s important to try and keep your blood glucose levels in range as best you can.

Our complications research aims to help people with type 1 and their healthcare professionals detect complications as soon as they start to develop. Once identified, we want complications to be treated quickly and efficiently with treatments developed specifically to work for people with diabetes.

The ultimate goal for complications research is to find out who is at most risk of developing certain complications and protect these people from ever getting complications from their type 1.

Find out more about our complications research.

Novel insulins

The word novel simply means new – novel insulins are the next generation of insulins being developed

A scientist in the lab working on novel insulins as part of treatment research for type 1 diabetes

Fast-acting insulins

The types of insulin people with type 1 use are much slower than the insulin their bodies used to be able to make. Researchers are developing insulins which can work faster and faster. We need faster-acting insulins so that people with type 1 don’t have to inject food a long time before they eat.

A fully closed loop artificial pancreas system would need little or no input at all from the person using it. Without ultra-rapid insulins, we can’t make fully closed loops because the insulin inside the insulin pumps doesn’t work fast enough. This means the wearer must currently warn their technology that they are about to eat or exercise, to give their insulin pump enough time to adjust.

Glucose-responsive ‘smart’ insulins

Another group of novel insulins are known as ‘smart’ insulins because they can respond to varying levels of glucose in the blood. This research is at an earlier stage than fast-acting insulins, but the idea is that the smart insulin remains in the body and only works in response to rising glucose levels. By responding automatically to the amount of glucose in the blood of someone with type 1, a smart insulin would mimic the function of insulin- releasing beta cells.

Learn more about novel insulins and our research into them.

Treatments news

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A small container containing three tablets of a novel glucose-responsive oral insulin.
29 January 2024

Early research shows glucose-responsive insulin tablets are safe and effective in animals

Researchers have developed a new oral insulin that travels in an inactive state to the liver and is only activated by rising blood glucose levels.

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Hybrid closed loop technology
Type 1 technology
19 December 2023

NICE Approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales

In an historic advancement in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) today approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales.

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Nina Willer, who used hybrid closed loop technology through pregnancy, and her child.
Treatment research
7 November 2023

Hybrid closed loop technology set to be made available in England and Wales

The announcement is the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin.

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T cell immune system
Research
6 November 2023

New research highlights the effectiveness of immune therapies for type 1 diabetes

The research, which was co-funded by JDRF, reveals that drugs that target the immune system offer very effective and rapid improvements in stabilising blood sugar levels, often within just three months.

More on research

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Three researchers in lab coats

Current research projects

Read about the exciting research taking place right now.

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A photo down a microscope of beta cell regeneration.

Cure research

Learn how researchers are trying to cure type 1.

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Treatment research showing environmental triggers and islets responding to the virus

Prevention research

Learn how researchers are trying to prevent type 1.