Sheffield leads  in world-wide diabetes project

Sheffield leads the way in diabetes research
Sheffield leads the way in diabetes research

Top researchers from Sheffield are to play a leading role in a major international effort to find better treatments for people living with hypoglycaemia, a common complication of diabetes.

The £23.6m project, funded by the European Economic Community, will run over four years and involves 10 countries and six UK centres.

It brings together world leaders from the field of diabetes, including clinicians from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and internationally renowned health economists from the University of Sheffield.

The Hypo-RESOLVE Consortium will seek better solutions to lessen the frightening impact of hypoglycaemia in people living with diabetes.

Effects range from symptoms such as sweating and tremor, to loss of concentration and confusion.  In very severe cases people can become unconsciousness and suffer epileptic seizures. 

Hypoglycaemia is a side effect of insulin treatment and develops when blood glucose levels drop lower than the normal range.

A mild hypo can be treated by eating fast-acting carbohydrate while more severe episodes may require injection of glucose solutions into a vein. 

Led by Professor Simon Heller, Director of Research and Development and Honorary Consultant Physician at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, the Sheffield team will amass all published evidence on hypoglycaemia from 100 to 150 recent clinical trials into a mega-database.

This will bring together all published knowledge of hypoglycaemia, to enable clinicians to compare different treatments using the same basic information.

This in turn will improve understanding of the condition and the impact it has on people’s lives.

The multi-million pound project will involve a large clinical trial where patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who use continuous glucose monitoring will be recruited to identify periods when hypoglycaemia occurs, risks of severe episodes and the effects on the quality of their lives.

Sheffield Hospitals NHS Foundation is the only north of England site involved. Professor Heller said: “This is a really exciting project that will ultimately  improve people’s lives.”