There will be hope for new treatments and better care for people with or at risk of diabetes, as PhD students receive a research grant of £315,000 from the MCF in partnership with Diabetes UK.
Over 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes which, if untreated, can lead to health complications, like eye, foot or heart problems. Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2, and it is predicted that over 850,000 people have type 2 diabetes and are unaware of it. The series of research by the PhD students aimed to improve the treatment and diagnosis of different forms of diabetes, and protect people with the condition from its long-term complications, tackle some of the problems that diabetes can cause and improve the lives of many living with the condition.
Cells in our pancreas have a molecule on their surface, called GLP-1R, which tells them to release insulin. Some people have genetic variations that impact GLP-1R, allowing it to do its job better. These variants appear to protect people from developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Liliane El Eid, from Imperial College London, has started her PhD studentship and has started to explore these genetic variants, to understand how it helps to protect against type 2 diabetes. She has found that signals from GLP-1R are stronger when inside the cell, rather than on the surface of the cell and will be delving into these findings for the remainder of her studentship. In understanding more about GLP-1R, scientists could develop new drugs in the future that could help to ‘switch on’ insulin production and in turn prevent type 2 diabetes.
PhD student, Liliane El Eid