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Research into development of type 1 diabetes in babies receives funding boost

Nearly £800,000 will be invested into researching why a rare form of type 1 diabetes develops in babies.
Dr Richard Oram, from the Exeter University Medical School, has been given the money as part of Diabetes UK’s Harry Keen Fellowship Award.
The grant, which was set up in honour of the late diabetes researcher Professor Harry Kee, will be used to investigate further why the immune system stops working in some children under the age of 12 months.
Dr Oram said: “I am extremely honoured to receive the highly prestigious Harry Keen Fellowship Award on behalf of all the team at the University of Exeter Medical School. We’re very much looking forward to getting this important study underway.”
A previous study by the university showed that despite doctors believing that babies under six months could not develop type 1 diabetes, it was possible. The research team discovered a very rare group of children with the condition.
Dr Oram and colleagues will now look at why the immune system behaves so abnormally among these babies, and when these changes begin to happen.
The researchers hope that this understanding could improve treatment plans this early in life, which might need to be different from treatment among those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a later stage.
Moreover, this knowledge could help researchers find ways of preventing type 1 diabetes from progressing within both children and adults.
Dr Elizabeth Robertso, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: “Dr Oram’s research into why type 1 diabetes develops in babies is key to knowing more about diabetes and how we can fight it.
“By funding critical research like this, we’re aiming for a world where diabetes can do no harm, and preventing yet more people developing this potentially life-threatening condition. This award highlights our commitment to investing in the future leaders of diabetes research.”

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