With 1.2 million diabetes sufferers Australia-wide*, understanding the disease and discovering new treatments is imperative. Current research that encompasses prevention, treatment and complications of the disease is focused on many different areas of diabetes research, including clinical type 2 diabetes and obesity research, studies of diabetes complications and the biological basis for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes affects more than 120,000 Australians and usually occurs in childhood, and is caused by the immune system attacking cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Apart from insulin, currently there is no other treatment for people suffering type 1 diabetes.

Research into type 1 diabetes at TRI includes:

  • Mater Research Professor Josephine Forbes and her team are investigating the connection between type 1 diabetes and dysfunctions of biological pathways involved in the addition of specific sugars to proteins which generate modified variants named "advanced glycation end products" (AGEs).These studies will help us better understand this system in humans and if it can be targeted by medicines to prevent type 1 diabetes development. Read more.
  • UQ Associate Professor Raymond Steptoe and his team are engineering human dendritic cells for tolerogenic gene therapy of type 1 diabetes. This project will test a newly-developed immunotherapeutic approach in a humanized mouse model of disease. Successful completion would accelerate the translation of this approach as a potential cure for type 1 diabetes. Read more
  • UQ Professor Ranjeny Thomas is developing a new form of immunotherapy using a small fat particle that encapsulates an ‘immune red flag’ protein from the pancreas, along with a drug to calm the immune response. Read more
  • UQ-DI Dr Emma Hamilton-Williams is working towards understanding the link between diabetes and the gut to determine the role of gut bacteria in disease progression. Read more

Type 2 Diabetes 

Mater Research-UQ Professor Mike McGuckin is using mouse models to investigate whether natural control of blood glucose can be restored in type 2 diabetes by administration of the cytokine IL-22. Read more

Diabetic Kidney Disease

Mater-UQ's Professor Josephine Forbes is also working with her team to investigate ways to prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease by targeting mitochondrial function. Read more on the TRI website and Mater Research website

*Includes type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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Key Researchers
John Prins
Jon Whitehead
Michael McGuckin
Emma Hamilton-Williams
Josephine Forbes
Ranjeny Thomas
Raymond John Steptoe
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