A brand new Strategic Research Centre, launched by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, will explore the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD). This study aims to investigate how the defective CFTR gene causes increased blood sugar levels.
Approximately 50% of adults living with CF have diabetes, and the condition can have a detrimental impact on lung function. Discovering how the defective gene makes it hard for bodies to regulate insulin levels is crucial to working out how to prevent diabetes from developing, and the Trust is hopeful that this research centre will have a huge impact on the lives of the cystic fibrosis community in the future.
The Cystic Fibrosis-Related Diabetes Strategic Research Centre will be led by Professor James Shaw and Dr Michael Gray at Newcastle University in collaboration with Ulster University and other educational bodies across Europe and the United States. The centre will receive £750,000 of funding from the Trust, and run for three to four years.
Anoushka de Almeida, Head of Research at the Trust, said, “We’re so pleased to announce our latest SRC. CF-related diabetes affects over 50% of people with cystic fibrosis and can have a huge impact on their quality of life. By getting to the bottom of how it develops, we hope that in the future we’ll be better able to prevent or treat it.”
Vlogger Ciara Hillyer, 23, is one of the many people living with CFRD for whom a breakthrough cannot come too soon. She said: “Living with CF is tough enough, but the added complication of CFRD can be quite disruptive. The constant worry of ‘Are my blood sugars ok? Do I have my blood sugar machine with me? Do I have my insulin? Am I safe to drive? Have I got enough food with me?’ are questions that I have to answer regularly throughout each day. This is in addition to the ongoing complex management of my cystic fibrosis.
“If researchers could find a way of preventing CFRD it would go a long way to lifting some of the burden cystic fibrosis patients have to live with on a daily basis.”
This SRC will bring together researchers from around the world, and lead Principal Investigator James Shaw will be joined by investigators from universities in Northern Ireland, Sweden, Hungary, and the United States.
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