Are there any working beta cells left?

Scientific title: Beta cell turnover in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes
Lay title: Are there any working beta cells left?
Principal investigator: Dr Richard Oram and Professor Yuval Dor
Institution: University of Exeter and the Hebrew University of Jersulem
Length of award: 01 September 2017 – 31 August 2020

Photos of Dr Richard Oram and Professor Yuval Dor
Dr Richard Oram and Professor Yuval Dor

Dr Oram and Professor Dor will use a newly-developed blood test technique to determine whether people with long-standing type 1 diabetes still have some functioning beta cells. Existing blood samples will be analysed, and blood samples will also be collected from people with long-standing type 1 who show different levels of beta cell activity. The team will first confirm whether there is a stable group of functional beta cells in these participants. The team will then refine their blood test technique and use the test to determine the level of cell death in beta cells.

If the technique is able to pick up indications of living beta cells in people with long-standing type 1 as well as cell death, it could mean a dramatic transformation of our understanding of type 1, and therefore approaches for developing a cure as well as treatments in the future. The technique developed as part of this project to measure beta cell death would also provide novel tools for diagnosing type 1 and monitoring progression of the condition, which could inform doctor’s decisions regarding treatment and care for people with type 1.

Categories: Treat, predict, diagnose, stage

Click on the image below to open a PDF of Dr Oram and Professor Dor’s project.

Image of poster on Dr Oram and Prof Dor's project - Are there any working beta cells left?