Research Grant update

In March 2023, the King's Health Partners (KHP) Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity Clinical Academic Partnership secured funding to offer four grants of up to £15,000 to fund research projects over the next 12 months.

ResearchThis opportunity was open to colleagues from across the partnership to pump-prime innovative research projects in the field of diabetes, obesity, and endocrinology.  
14 applications were received from early career researchers whose work involves clinical and basic science. These were reviewed by our panel: Gavin Bewick (Reader in Endocrinology and Metabolism, King’s College London), Angus Forbes (Professor and Chair of Clinical Diabetes Nursing – Care in Long Term Conditions, King’s College London), Luigi Gnudi (Professor of Diabetes & Metabolic Medicine, King’s College London), Kevin Murphy (Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Imperial College London) and Marietta Stadler (NIHR Clinician Scientist, King’s College London).  

The following research projects were awarded the grants by the panel:  

Effects of eNAMPT on inflammation in NAFLD (Jithu Varghese, King’s College London). Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)/Non-alcohol related steatohepatitis (NASH) affects 32.4% of the population, with a high prevalence in obese individuals. Current treatments are limited to lifestyle factors or bariatric surgery. Most drugs in development were found to have sub-optimal efficacy or cause unpleasant/dangerous side-effects. Hence, this is an urgent unmet clinical need for the identification and development of novel targets for treatment in this disease with the aim of preventing NAFLD progression into NASH.  

Novel placental signals driving islet adaptation to pregnancy (Lorna Smith, King’s College London). This project will support better understanding of the signals driving the islet adaptation to pregnancy, and why that adaptation is insufficient in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).  

Safe management of people with Type 1 diabetes and Eating Disorders Study (STEADY) – (Natalie Zaremba, King’s College London). This project will use mix method evaluation to assess the fidelity of delivery and feasibility of STEADY during its completed Randomised Controlled Trial feasibility study.  

Multi-omics analysis of PPGLs to investigate tumour behaviour and highlight transcriptomic markers of aggressive disease (Mark Quinn, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS FT). This project will analyse multi-omics from pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGL) tumours focusing solely on one specific group and will implement a comparative multi-omics analysis between tumours that spread and tumours that do not using the data to identify a potential marker that we can use to predict tumours that are likely to behave in an aggressive way. If we are able to highlight patients, early in their care, who are at risk of developing aggressive disease, we will be able to focus our resources more appropriately; helping avoid over investigating patients who will never develop aggressive disease. 

Researchers will submit a mid-point and a final report at the end of the 12-month project to share the overview of the key findings and their implications, including their impact on patient care across King's Health Partners. 

The KHP Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity teams works to improve health and wellbeing for people living with diabetes, obesity and endocrine disorders across London, south east England and beyond. Visit its webpages here.