Transforming the treatment of diabetes
Exeter is the leading centre in the world for understanding the genetics of diabetes, receiving samples for testing from 60% of all children born with diabetes.
The University of Exeter is a world-leader in the genetics of diabetes – one of the most important medical challenges facing the world today. Around 415 million adults worldwide are estimated to have diabetes and this is expected to reach 642 million by 2040. Four million people are living with the disease in the UK, with an estimated 549,000 more having undiagnosed diabetes.
Exeter’s research spans from examining the causes of diabetes and its associated risks to supporting families and finding new ways of improving treatment. Work is wide-ranging, from the genetic analysis of different forms of diabetes to understanding the molecular biology affecting insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Researchers also investigate why associated complications occur, such as blood vessel damage which causes diabetics’ eye and kidney problems.
Exeter Professors Andrew Hattersley and Sian Ellard lead the team behind the medical breakthrough which has transformed the treatment of neonatal diabetes worldwide. Previously the condition required daily insulin injections: today a less invasive tablet form of treatment is prescribed in 40% of cases.