Dr Karen CosgroveBSc, PhD, MRSB

Lecturer

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Overview

Diabetes mellitus affects 2.8 million people in the UK and is becoming increasingly common. It occurs when the body loses the ability to control blood sugar levels, either due to a lack of the hormone insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or due to insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes). My lab investigates the processes which control how and when insulin is released from the pancreas. In order to treat Type 1 diabetes, pancreatic islet transplantation is available for a small number of patients but there will always be a mismatch in the number of patients who could potentially benefit from this treatment and the amount of pancreatic donor material which is available. Hence another area of research is to identify alternative sources of insulin-producing cells which could ultimately be used for transplantation. At the present time we are investigating the use of human embryonic stem cells and human adult stem cells as potential sources of islet tissue. My lab also has a very active interest in Congenital Hyperinsulinism of Infancy (CHI), which is characterised by extremely low blood sugar levels. We work with colleagues at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to understand more about this rare disease and find alternative treatments.

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