Suellen Luisa Andrade De Oliveira is from Brazil and has type 1 diabetes.

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Type 1 diabetes

Researching better ways to treat, and ultimately cure, type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that affects the body’s ability to convert glucose from food into energy. In most cases, type 1 diabetes develops early in life and is often diagnosed during childhood.

The disease starts when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone that helps convert glucose into energy for the body’s cells. Without daily injections of insulin, people living with type 1 would not be able to survive.

Based on almost 100 years of experience discovering and producing treatments for people with diabetes, our scientists are advancing research to reduce the number of insulin injections required to maintain good glycaemic control, and to prevent low blood glucose (hypoglycaemic) episodes.

Our ultimate goal is a cure for type 1 diabetes. We are progressing our research in regenerative medicine such as stem cell therapy, which may one day be used as a curative treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Meet Nic, who has type 1 diabetes, and hear about life with the disease.

Living with type 1 diabetes

Our research tries to understand how we can do more to help someone living with type 1 diabetes. How can we help them balance daily treatments with everyday life?

This plays a key role in the development of new treatments. For many people living with diabetes, having an insulin that reduces worry about having blood sugars levels that are too low, makes a big difference. It means not having to worry about hypoglycaemia that can result in loss of consciousness, seizures or death.

Having two small children is demanding on any parent’s time, but add the worry of hypoglycaemia with the daily insulin injections and monitoring needed to prevent them, and life can get very challenging.

Meet Nic in the video above. Nic was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than 30 years ago. He reflects on how much treatment has changed, but also where better ones are needed.

Facts about type 1 diabetes

1.1m+

children and adolescents are living with type 1 diabetes globally.

56%

of people with diabetes worry about the risk of hypoglycaemia.

60%+

of family members of people with diabetes are worried about the risk of hypoglycaemia to their loved one.

30m

patients use our diabetes care products globally.

Towards a future without hypoglycaemia

Maintaining target blood glucose levels helps protect the body’s organs from damage. It also protects people living with type 1 diabetes from hypoglycaemia.

Insulin therapy aims to get as close as possible to the natural insulin response of someone without diabetes. This can help people living with type 1 diabetes maintain target blood glucose levels.

The closer insulin therapy gets to the body’s natural response, the better it is at balancing blood glucose levels.

Insulin treatment has evolved significantly, and with each advancement, we are closer to a natural insulin response. Most importantly, these advancements helped people living with type 1 diabetes overcome some of the inconveniences that come with treating and living with the disease.

One of our big ambitions is to develop so-called "smart insulins" that will eliminate hypoglycaemic events. This would be the next big breakthrough in type 1 diabetes care. We share this ambition with many partners in the diabetes research community and work closely with them towards a common goal – eliminating hypoglycaemia.

Meet Jacob Sten Petersen, Head of Stem Cell research, and hear his personal motivation to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Searching for a cure for type 1 diabetes

People living with type 1 diabetes can never take a break from their disease. Dependence on insulin therapy and the dedicated management of the disease plays a significant role in daily life.

We are getting closer in our search for a curative treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Together with leading research universities around the world, we have been able to transform stem cells into glucose-sensing, insulin-secreting beta cells, just like those produced in the pancreas of a healthy person. In animal studies, these transformed stem cells successfully cured mice with type 1 diabetes.

We have made significant steps forward, and continue to work on the remaining challenges. Luckily, we are not alone. We have a solid network in the scientific community for stem cell research, and with each day it grows stronger.

It is only a question of when these collaborations will lead to a cure for the millions of people living with type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes illustration showcasing two hands, pills and blood test.

Chasing the next breakthroughs

Insulin treatment should be as simple as possible, and this has always been our philosophy. From better treatments to digital solutions, we strive to ease the burden of living with a chronic disease and meet the diverse needs of millions of people living with type 1 diabetes.

Within type 1 diabetes, we are currently researching into the following areas:

  • Glucose-responsive insulins
  • Connected insulin delivery devices
  • Curative stem cell treatment

When we combine the voice of someone living with a chronic disease with our scientific expertise and engineering skills, we can continue to discover and develop innovative insulins and delivery systems. 

Learn more about our ambitious R&D pipeline.

Johnna Wesley, head of type 1 diabetes, immunology and kidney disease research

Johnna Wesley, head of type 1 diabetes, immunology and kidney disease research

Prevention or cure?

Meet Johnna Wesley, head of type 1 diabetes, immunology and kidney disease research, and hear how she is looking into the possibilities of preventing or delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes.

We are working to improving our understanding of type 1 diabetes to better equip us in our search for a cure or reversal therapy – a long-held aspiration. But this is no easy task

Hear about our progress

PATIENT SUPPORT

Need help with type 1 diabetes?

Our patient support site, DiabetesWhatsNext, gives you advice on living with diabetes. As well as an overview of the support available to help you.