A network of British scientists, backed by Diabetes UK and JDRF, has been working together to conduct clinical trials to find new treatments that will stop or prevent Type 1 diabetes. With renewed funding, the network will continue for a further three years and aims to make the first immunotherapy drug available for people with Type 1 diabetes. In May Diabetes UK and JDRF announced their continued commitment to revolutionising the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, by awarding £490,000 to fund the next generation of immunotherapy research.
The award will allow for more clinical trials, and improve the way they are carried out, through the Type 1 Diabetes UK Immunotherapy Consortium (T1D UK). Set up in 2015 with major funding from the two charities, the network now 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, speeding up the development of new treatments for the condition that currently affects 400,000 people in the UK.
A number of immunotherapies have shown promise to treat Type 1 diabetes, but multiple trials are needed before a drug can be licenced.
Professor Colin Dayan, at Cardiff University, leads the T1D UK’s network of research centres. He explains, “It’s a blessing we have insulin as a treatment because it keeps people with Type 1 diabetes alive – people were dying very quickly 100 years ago. But it’s also a curse because it’s so difficult to use – and this is what people with Type 1 are facing every day for the rest of their lives. But through this network we will focus on making immunotherapy research bigger, smarter and faster, planning to increase the number of clinical trials being run in the UK and make each trial more efficient so they can be conducted in half the time and half the number of volunteers. This will enable us to collect the evidence required to get a drug licenced, and made available in diabetes clinics sooner than is currently possible.”