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Continuing support for diabetes research

Friday, 09 September 2011

Earlier in 2011, it was announced that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) had been awarded a major grant of £50,000 from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. The money is helping to fund research to prevent complications from diabetes, specifically neuropathy or nerve damage. The research project is being led by Professor Rayaz Malik at the University of Manchester.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening condition in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood glucose levels and enables the body to store energy from food, without it we would die. The current method of control is via daily insulin injections or pump infusions. There is no cure. If blood glucose levels become too low, hypoglycaemia occurs, which can lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from disorientation, loss of consciousness, coma, seizures and occasionally death. 

The Grand Charity previously donated £50,000 to a JDRF project in 2007, which had much success. The project took place at the University of Cambridge and aimed to create an artificial pancreas for children, to be used overnight to monitor blood glucose levels and administer insulin automatically. The team measured how well their artificial pancreas system controlled glucose levels compared with a regular insulin pump. Insulin pumps deliver insulin at preselected rates, whilst the artificial pancreas system can change how much insulin it delivers in response to changing glucose readings detected by a continuous glucose monitor. In 2010, it was announced that this research had been successful, reducing the devastating complications of the disease for millions of people. Further trials are commencing to test the use of the artificial pancreas in a home environment and it is anticipated that the results will contribute to the medical and regulatory acceptance of the device, and for the eventual use for adults as well.

"JDRF exists to support research that will cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes. Reaching these goals is a matter of time and money, and the more money we raise, the more research we can fund, and the faster we will meet our targets. We are extremely grateful to The Freemasons' Grand Charity for its generous support, and for ensuring our research maintains momentum and is propelled even further forward."

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Karen Addington, Chief Executive, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation