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19.02.20

University of Exeter receive £152k diabetes research grant

Researchers at the University of Exeter have received a grant of £152,000 over two years from Diabetes UK to fund investigations into how manipulating specific brain cells can impact the body’s response to changes in blood sugar levels.

The hope is that the research by Dr Kate Ellacott and her team, in collaboration with Dr Craig Beall, will help uncover the processes involved in diabetes.

Dr Ellacott, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “I’m really excited we have been awarded this funding to carry out our research on these specific cells.

“We believe these cells help the brain respond to changes in blood sugar and so they could be vital to target in potential diabetes treatment.”

The team will use animal cell models to alter specific star-shaped brain cells, which are known for carrying messages in the brain. It’s believed by the team that these cells may be involved in communicating blood sugar levels to the brain and coordinating appropriate responses.

Kamini Shah, Head of Research Funding at Diabetes UK, said: “Living with diabetes and trying to keep your blood sugar levels from going too high or low can be like walking a tightrope.

“Dr Ellacott’s research could help us understand if, in the future, we could develop new treatments that target brain cells to help protect people with diabetes from dangerous blood sugar levels.

“The vital research we fund is only possible thanks to the dedication of scientists like Dr Ellacott and the generosity of our supporters.”

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