Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Diabetes UK funds Bangor University research into insulin-producing gene

Dr John MulleyDr John Mulley

Leading health charity Diabetes UK has funded a research project at Bangor University to investigate a gene which could identify important new avenues for diabetes treatment.


The charity has awarded a £14,500 grant to Dr John Mulley at Bangor University to research the processes which activate a gene – called Pdx2 – which is similar to another gene - Pdx1 -previously shown to have a role in making insulin-producing cells in humans[1].


Humans have a copy of the Pdx1 gene and people with mutant copies of the Pdx1 gene often have Type 2 diabetes.


Dr Mulley will study the Pdx2 gene to understand more about the function of this gene and what light it could shed on new ways to develop treatments for people with diabetes.


Dr Mulley’s work could identify new genetic pathways for insulin regulation or the production of insulin-producing cells, which could be adapted for use in humans and for future diabetes treatments.


Dr Mulley, of Bangor University's School of Biological Sciences, said: “I'm grateful to Diabetes UK for the award which will enable me to further my research.


“With diabetes cases on the increase, it's vital that we explore as many avenues as possible, so that we can understand the disease and the potential opportunities to develop new treatments.”


Dr Victoria King, Diabetes UK Head of Research said: “Once the insulin-producing beta cells have been destroyed in diabetes they have a limited or almost non-existent capacity to regenerate so working out how diverse organisms manage to regenerate insulin-producing cells, or regulate their insulin and glucose levels, can provide information that we can harness to develop ways to treat diabetes.


“Diabetes UK is currently committed to diabetes research projects that total more than £960,000 in Wales and is pleased to include support for Dr Mulley’s research at Bangor University in that total.”


More than 153,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes in Wales with Type 2 diabetes accounting for around 90 per cent of cases.


Type 2 diabetes develops when the body either cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes.

Publication date: 22 February 2011