How do white blood cells destroy the insulin producing cells in Type 1 Diabetes

Study code

Lead researcher
Professor Mark Peakman

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Kings College London

Researcher type

Speciality area

Recruitment Site
Guy's and St Thomas'


Type 1 Diabetes (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes) is caused by the body’s white blood cells (part of the immune system) damaging the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The research team at Guy’s Hospital and King’s College London, are interested in which blood cells do this and how it happens, as this may later lead to the development of new treatments to slow or prevent damage to the insulin making cells.

In the present study, they will be comparing white blood cells from people who have just been diagnosed with diabetes (where the immune reaction to the pancreas is still active), with blood from people who have had diabetes more than 5 years (in whom the immune reaction is over) or blood from people who don’t have diabetes at all. They will also be studying white blood cells from the healthy relatives of people with diabetes to see if they have protective white blood cells that stop them from developing the disease.

Participation: This study recruited 45 participants, aged between 16 and 50, from the Cambridge BioResource to give a single 100 ml blood sample.

Organisation: This study was organised by Professor Mark Peakman from the Department of Diabetes at King's College London.