A young girl wearing a onesie holding an insulin pump
Funding provided to the University of Birmingham and European partner institutions will look to to accelerate type 1 diabetes screening of children and adolescents across the UK and Europe.

Professor Parth Narendran, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Birmingham, has been awarded an EU Horizon grant valued at £860,000 towards diagnosis and interventions to delay or prevent clinical type 1 diabetes (T1D) in young people and adolescents within the UK and across Europe.

Professor Narendran is a qualified clinician by background and leads the Diabetes Research Unit and the Type 1 Diabetes clinical service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. He is part of a national effort exploring the viability of early surveillance programmes for pre-type 1 diabetes and is also exploring new treatments which could delay the start of Type 1 diabetes.

Following the successful launch of the ELSA Study (EarLy Surveillance for Autoimmune diabetes) which began in July 2022 in the UK, Professor Narendran will be working with European partner institutions to establish antibody surveillance programmes to screen 200,000 children and adolescents across Europe. 

There is a compelling case for assessing type 1 diabetes (T1D) in children and adolescents throughout Europe, with the chronic disease affecting >1 in 300 young people. This project positions Europe as the leader in early interception of T1D and aims to identify individuals at earlier, pre-clinical stages, dramatically reducing clinical severity at T1D diagnosis and providing intervention opportunities with disease modifying therapies to delay or prevent clinical T1D on a wider scale.

Professor Parth Narendran, Professor of Diabetes Medicine, University of Birmingham

The EU Horizon research and innovation funding programme aims to aid European collaboration and strengthens the impact of research whilst tackling global challenges. As a result, the project aims to recruit academic, clinical and industry expertise in screening, clinical care, biomarkers and population outreach to expedite evidence-based early T1D screening into regular healthcare in Europe.

Along with screening 200,000 young people across Europe, funding will be utilised towards assessing various psychosocial, medical and economic factors which impact screening in diverse European health systems and populations, which will also include underserved families. The study will also utilise state-of-the-art biomarkers and SMART (Sequential, Multiple Assignment, Randomized Trial) trials to expedite disease modifying therapies. There will also be emphasis on educating the public and healthcare professionals around the T1D research that is informing diagnosis and care.