Funding to characterise a new target for type 1 diabetes prevention

April 11, 2024

JDRF is proud to announce new funding of $200,000 (USD) to Dr Irina Buckle from Mater Research and The University of Queensland, to undertake a project which aims to understand what may be driving type 1 diabetes.  

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a condition where certain types of immune cells, known as T cells, incorrectly attack the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, leading to a loss of insulin production.  

Therapies that dampen this immune attack have shown promise in delaying T1D progression or even preventing it in the first place. 

What is the project about?  

Dr Buckle’s project will focus on a protein called Receptor for Advanced Glycation End products (RAGE) on the surface of the T cells which have been linked to the immune attack seen in T1D.  

Dr Buckle’s team has previously shown in pre-clinical models that targeting this protein can suppress T1D progression.     

This project will take blood samples from children and teenagers who have been recently diagnosed with T1D or who are at-risk for developing the condition to see their levels of RAGE protein amongst their T cells. The project will also determine whether RAGE can be targeted with certain therapies in pre-clinical models. 

What does this mean for the T1D community?  

This project is important for two reasons. 

Firstly, it will add to the body of knowledge on what drives the immune system to attack beta cells. This is an important first step to understand how we can stop T1D from starting or progressing.  

Secondly, it will undertake preliminary studies testing therapies against RAGE which may be able to delay T1D onset and progression. Positive results would add another therapy to our arsenal in creating a “world without T1D”. 

A headshot of Dr Irina Buckle, smiling at the camera

 This JDRF funding will allow me to uncover new targets in the cells of people with type 1 diabetes that may be different to those without the condition. In this way, my research will allow new therapies against these targets to be developed in the future to either slow down or prevent type 1 diabetes. 

About Dr Buckle  

Dr Buckle is an immunologist in Professor Josephine Forbes’ laboratory at Mater Research in Brisbane. She focuses on the development of disease modifying therapies for T1D. 

During her PhD, Dr Buckle worked towards the development of therapies focusing on the immune system attack using pre-clinical models of T1D. 

About this grant   

Dr Buckle’s grant is funded under JDRF International Grant # 1-PNF-2024-1482-S-B 

Our research portfolio 

Groundbreaking projects like these are only possible with support from our community. The future of 130,000 Australians living with T1D and the eight more diagnosed each day depends on it.  

To get involved, donate here.  

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