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Identifying who will develop diabetes after kidney transplant

09 June 2022

Professor Amy Jayne McKnight, from Queen's University Belfast, has been awarded a Stoneygate research project grant to study who is at higher risk of developing diabetes after receiving a kidney transplant.

Developing diabetes post transplant

New onset diabetes after transplant is a serious complication that affects up to half of people who receive a kidney transplant but at the moment we can’t predict who will be affected. It can happen days or months after transplant and it increases the risk of transplant failure and can also increase the risk of death, particularly due to a heart attack.

Transplant recipients who develop new onset diabetes have an additional psychological burden of coping with a new disease on top of managing their transplant recovery.

Blood glucose meter and glucose test strips container.
Blood glucose meter and glucose test strips container. Photo by David Moruzzi on Unsplash

Identifying the risk factors

AJ and her team have done some small studies which suggest that there are inherited risk factors for new onset diabetes after transplant which combine with lifestyle factors (medication, diet and exercise) to cause the disease.

With our funding, the team are now collaborating with researchers in the UK, Europe and America to study clinical and inherited risk factors to be able to predict who is at higher risk of developing new onset diabetes after transplant.

What could this mean for patients?

This research could predict with greater accuracy individuals at risk of new onset diabetes after transplant, enabling individually tailored therapy.

Amy’s work is funded by a Stoneygate research project grant from Kidney Research UK for £163,480 over three years.

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