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Diabetes Week: Eight Exeter diabetes discoveries

Our world-leading diabetes research is underpinned by our expertise in genomics and cutting-edge innovation in technology. Our advances span from discovering biological causes and mechanisms, to improving diagnosis and treatment worldwide, to prevention and supporting people to live healthier lifestyles.

To mark Diabetes Week, we’re celebrating eight Exeter Diabetes discoveries that are changing lives worldwide.

  1. Half of people with Neonatal Diabetes can ditch insulin injections for sulphonylureas tablets.
    The “miracle treatment” ends misery of regular hypos for many young children and is effective for more than 10 years.

  2. People with Type 1 Diabetes don’t lose all their insulin-producing beta cells, as previously thought.
    Next step: can we learn what is different about remaining working cells, to protect more cells and help people with Type 1 Diabetes?

  3. Some types of diabetes are caused by a mutation in a single gene - one mistake in six billion bits of genetic code.
    We’ve identified which gene for 16 varieties of diabetes, giving answers to people with diabetes and best care and treatment options.

  4. We busted the myth that Type 1 Diabetes is a childhood disease.
    We found it develops as commonly in adults – but is often misdiagnosed. Our discovery will aid accurate diagnosis and treatment, enabling people to live to the full.

  5. We led guidance for clinicians on how to treat diabetes in the elderly, including the first set of guidelines specifically for diabetes in the frail.
    It aims to reduce complications and improve quality of life.

  6. We have helped understand the inherited tendency which means some people are more likely to be overweight or develop diabetes.
    This includes the first and most important “obesity gene” called FTO.

  7. Our Exeter Diabetes researchers found there are two different subtypes of Type 1 Diabetes, diagnosed at different ages and have a different immune cause.
    Next step: find two different treatments to reverse/halt each type!

  8. We showed the changes in tiny blood vessels that can affect the eye and the kidney are present throughout the body in diabetes.
    This means solutions to stop complications needed to protect and treat the whole body.

    To find out more about diabetes research at Exeter, follow #ExeterDiabetes on Twitter.

Date: 12 June 2018