Our research into treating type 1 diabetes means finding ways to help people achieve better glucose control, with less effort. It also means looking for ways to prevent or cure the complications that life with type 1 may bring.
We are developing new treatments to lighten the burden of managing type 1 diabetes.
Developing new technologies that will automatically deliver insulin when it is needed
Type 1 diabetes treatment technologies have already come a long way – there are now pumps that can deliver insulin automatically, and sensors that can give a minute-to-minute account of how glucose levels are changing in the body. But as yet these devices cannot take the place of the person with type 1 who must decide on the right thing to do for themselves. So we have been pioneering the development of artificial pancreas systems that can automatically deliver the right dose of insulin at the right time.
Artificial pancreas systems consist of a glucose sensor, an insulin pump and a clever computer program that can use information from the sensor to tell the insulin pump how much insulin it should give.
Creating new ‘smart’ insulins that will only become active when needed
Imagine only having to take one injection per day to manage your type 1 – perfectly, no matter what you ate, what sports you did or how stressed you got. This is the goal behind our glucose-responsive or ‘smart’ insulin research.
The idea is to develop a completely new way of delivering a drug, never tried before in any other condition. We think of smart insulins as types of insulin that would only become active in the body when glucose levels rose, and would become inactive again as those levels fell. So a smart insulin would make hypos history.
Finding new ways to prevent, detect and treat the complications that living with type 1 can bring
The spectre of serious long term complications of type 1 – eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, heart disease and strokes – can feel like it is hanging over people with type 1 and their families. The great news is that as more people with type 1 are able to achieve better glucose control, fewer people with type 1 are developing complications, and those that do are developing them later in life.
But that isn’t good enough. We want to remove the spectre entirely. We want to be able to detect complications as soon as they start to develop so that they can be treated quickly and efficiently with treatments developed specifically to work for people with diabetes. Better still, we want to be able to find out who is at most risk of developing complications, and protect them from getting them at all.