Genes and Mechanisms in Type 1 Diabetes in the Cambridge BioResource

Study code

Lead researcher
Professor John Todd

Study type
Samples and data

Institution or company
University of Cambridge

Researcher type

Speciality area

Recruitment Site


The purpose of this study is to find the genes that cause insulin-dependent (also called type 1) diabetes to enable us to identify individuals at risk of developing the disease and to understand its basic causes. Ultimately we hope this will lead to preventive treatment in these at risk individuals and may also inform research relating to other autoimmune diseases.

Participation: For this study we recruited 41 participants from the Cambridge BioResource who have been diagnosed with Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Volunteers attended a single appointment at the Cambridge BioResource’s clinical facility on the Cambridge Biomedical campus. 

Organisation: This study is organised by Professor John Todd at the Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory.  

Update from Researcher: Our research team has been investigating the effects of genes contributing to the development of the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes (T1D). The incidence of T1D is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in children. Many of the genes that contribute to T1D susceptibility influence the function of cells that mediate immunity and most of the affected cell types are found in blood. We have studied the expression of T1D genes in specific cell types in the blood of Cambridge BioResource volunteers and have shown that common gene variants that increase the risk of developing diabetes cause measurable alterations in gene expression and cell function. One of the observations made from our studies led us to conduct two clinical studies in T1D patients where adult volunteers were injected with ultra-low doses of IL-2, a molecule produced by immune cells that increases the functionality of a T cell subset known as "regulatory CD4 T cells."  Positive results from these two studies encouraged us to initiate a phase 2, multicentre, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test the ability of ultra-low IL-2 injections given over a 6-month period to slow the progression of the autoimmune attack that occurs in T1D. Results from the trial should be available in 2022.