type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a growing healthcare issue. It is estimated that 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and that by 2030 diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death. Diabetes is a chronic disease, characterised by increased blood glucose levels, which can lead to serious damage to many organs. This leads to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, nerve damage leading to increased risk of limb amputation, kidney failure, and blindness.
Blood glucose levels are regulated by the hormone insulin. Diabetes occurs due to insufficient insulin secretion by the beta cells in the pancreas or a reduced ability of the body to utilise insulin (insulin resistance). In type 1 diabetes the beta-cells are specifically destroyed by the patient’s own immune system. In type 2 diabetes, although characterised by insulin resistance, there is also evidence for a decline in the number of insulin secreting beta-cells, causing a deficiency in insulin secretion. In our research we are interested in studying the causes of beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, such as increased lipid levels in the blood. We also aim to identify potential targets that promote increased beta-cell proliferation with the aim of developing new drugs to treat this disease.