Diabetes could be cured within the next 20 years
UK teams are leading the race against a disease which is estimated to hit 6.25 million Britons by 2035.
Dr Nick Oliver, diabetes consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, says he is confident that the insulin-deficiency disease will eventually be wiped out.
“There are lots of avenues that will lead to potential cures for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and if I could see it in my career that would be incredibly exciting.”
Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research for Diabetes UK, said: “We think it is possible we could have a vaccine for Type 1 within 20 years.”
Human trials have already started on the world’s first artificial pancreas, created by Dr Oliver’s team. It would offer sufferers of Type 1 diabetes the most effective treatment available.
The Bio-Inspired Artificial Pancreas – BiAP – is attached to the abdomen via a thin tube. It reads sugar levels and sends information to an insulin pump which releases the hormone around the clock. This eliminates painful daily blood tests and injections.
One researcher said: “We hope the technology will be the next best thing to a cure for the 400,000 people in the UK with Type 1 diabetes.”
In 2016 human trials are due to start on an artificial pancreas created at De Montfort University in Leicester which can be inserted into the body.
Type 2 diabetes is largely driven by lifestyle and linked to obesity. Tests are under way to discover whether a low-calorie liquid diet could be used to put Type 2 diabetes into remission.