The Queen’s anniversary prize has been awarded to Exeter University, as a partner of the PMS (Peninsular Medical School), for their role in uncovering a new type of diabetes-related disease.
Common knowledge states that diabetes consists of type 1 (sometimes called juvenile diabetes) and type 2 (sometimes called adult-onset diabetes.) However, research into another strand of the disease, known as monogenic diabetes, has helped insulin-injecting diabetics improve their diabetes regimen.
Insulin injections are a painful and demanding part of most type 1 diabetics lives. Standard theory dictates that in type 1 diabetics are unable to make the hormone insulin because part of their pancreas has died. However, this new research shows that in some patients the pancreas still has the capacity to produce insulin with the help of specific medications. By stimulating dormant cells, the ability for the body to recognise high blood sugar and correct it.
This discovery raises the potential that thousands of patients globally have been mis-diagnosed and has massive implications in the way in which we treat diabetes. Monogenic diabetes is thought to be a specifically genetic disorder, linked to family history. The next step for the research team is to investigate monogenic diabetes in type 2 diabetics.

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