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Home > About JDRF & Our Impact > Our research > Research projects > Bigger, smarter, faster research into immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes
Professor Colin Dayan at Cardiff University
Immunotherapy is one of the most promising areas in type 1 diabetes research today, with the potential to help cure and prevent the condition.
But before any immunotherapy treatment can reach the people who need it, it must be thoroughly tested in clinical trials.
This award will help to fund the next generation of immunotherapy research, enabling more efficient clinical trials, in more locations, so that promising treatments can reach people sooner.
Professor Colin Dayan leads the UK T1D Research Consortium network of research centres.
Since the consortium was set up in 2015 with funding from JDRF and Diabetes UK, the consortium has increased the number of people with type 1 taking part in vital research five-fold, completed three ground-breaking clinical trials, and is currently running nine more.
With this grant, Professor Dayan plans to increase the number of clinical trials being run in the UK even further, and to make each trial more efficient, so they can be conducted in half the time and with half the number of volunteers.
At the same time, he aims to have a clinical trial centre within 50 miles of 50% of the UK population so that more children and adults can take part in vital research.
Together, these advances will speed up the development of new immunotherapy treatments for type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 happens when the immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
An immunotherapy for type 1 would manipulate the immune system, effectively re-training it to avoid attacking healthy cells. Scientists believe these treatments could result in an effective way to slow or prevent type 1 in the future, paving the way towards curing the condition.
With this grant, Professor Dayan will be able to run bigger, smarter and faster immunotherapy clinical trials in type 1 diabetes – enabling researchers to collect the evidence required to get a drug licensed, and made available to people with type 1, sooner than is currently possible.
The UK T1D Research Consortium is currently looking for volunteers for some of its clinical trials. Each of these trials will have different criteria for who can and cannot take part.
If you would like to find out more about these trials, including who can get involved, visit the UK T1D Research Consortium website.
JDRF is also funding Professor Dayan for another project that aims to speed up the development and licensing of immunotherapies. The project will use mathematical modelling to improve the way clinical trials are analysed for success.
This project aims to overcome two major roadblocks to developing and licensing immunotherapies for people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Dr Bewick is exploring ways to improve the health, performance and number of beta cells in the body, so that people with type 1 can be less reliant on insulin pumps and injections – or even, one day, live without them completely.
This project is looking at a new way to turn stem cells into beta cells in the lab, to better understand what conditions make this process happen efficiently.
Dr Gavin Bewick is a researcher at King’s College London whose research focuses on the cells in the pancreas which produce and release insulin, the beta cells. He is currently developing a drug to protect these beta cells.