Dr James Cantley, at the University of Dundee, will work on developing new drugs to help people living with type 1 diabetes grow back their own beta cells inside their pancreas.
The aim of this approach will be to avoid problems with the immune system rejecting transplanted “foreign” donor or lab-made beta cells and allow the pancreas to produce its own insulin again.
Dr Cantley said: “Regenerating beta cells in the pancreas has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of type 1 diabetes, by replacing cells destroyed by the immune attack, and ultimately leading to stable blood sugar levels and a life free from insulin injections."
Professor Sarah Richardson, of the University of Exeter, will investigate how and why a person’s immune system destroys their own beta cells and how this process may differ between people with type 1 diabetes.
Professor Richardson will also study how beta cells can fight back against the immune attack.
With this knowledge, researchers could develop an armoury of new treatments that target different lines of the immune system's attack.
Professor Richardson said: "Ultimately, this will help us tailor existing and emerging therapies to the individual, maximising the benefits for people with type 1 diabetes."