A brand new medical research centre has opened in Newcastle that plans to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
The Newcastle Isolation and Innovation Hub, located at Newcastle University, is focusing on developing pioneering cell transplantation techniques. The team hopes their research could eventually lead to insulin not being required in the treatment of diabetes.
James Shaw, professor of regenerative medicine for diabetes at Newcastle University said: “Our first goal is to pioneer islet cell transplant therapy for diabetes, delivering long-term freedom from insulin injections without the need for toxic anti-rejection drugs.
“In parallel, the Hub will provide scientists with human islet cells to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of diabetes on the pancreas with the aim of finding curative new drug treatments.”
A core intention of the researchers is to make islet cell transplantation safer for people with type 1 diabetes at the highest risk of complications.
A small team will be designing new state-of-the-art equipment for islet cell transplantatio, while the researchers plan to build a unique bank of pancreas tissue and cells obtained from people with diabetes.
The researchers also hope to develop a diabetes treatment in tablet form, which will kick-start the pancreas again to start making insulin again.
Shaw added: “Our research and clinical practice has been building towards this service for the last 15 years which will benefit scientists working towards a cure throughout the UK and the rest of the world.”
Research technician Helen Gavillet said: “We will now have access to the highest quality human cells and will be able to put these to excellent use to help push research into type 1 diabetes forwards.”

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