Olle Korsgren – Diabetes research

Our research investigates the onset of diabetes and the possibilities of preventing and curing the disease.

Diabetes is a chronic, serious disease that affects several organs in the body. Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing global health problems, with the number of people living with diabetes predicted to increase from 529 million in 2021 to an unimaginable 1.3 billion in 2050. The vast majority of people living with diabetes (approx. 90%) have type 2 diabetes (T2D), leaving close to 50 million people suffering from type 1 diabetes (T1D). In Sweden today, almost 600,000 people suffer from diabetes. Diabetes and its complications place an enormous burden on the patient's quality of life and account for more than ten per cent of healthcare costs in Sweden.

Diabetes increases in children

Although T2D accounts for most of the diabetes epidemic, T1D is the most common chronic disease in children in Sweden. Approximately 900 children (and the same number of adults) develop diabetes each year. This corresponds to more than two children per day. Sweden has one of the highest incidences of T1D in the world, and it has doubled in the last 40 years and continues to increase by four to six per cent per year. These figures are frightening and we still do not know the cause of the disease.

Research with several components

Our research focuses on the cause of diabetes and on opportunities to prevent and cure diseases. The research has a broad multidisciplinary focus, integrating genetics, bioinformatics, physiology, cell biology, clinical immunology, diabetology and transplantation research. The goal is to clarify how the disease arises and lay the foundation for the development of new strategies to prevent and cure T1D.

In many of our projects, we use the pancreas from organ donors to investigate and compare changes in the organ between healthy people and people with T1D and T2D. We also have access to isolated islets, which are provided via the islet isolation lab at KITM at the Uppsala University Hospital. Some examples of questions and projects are listed below:

The purpose of our research is to clarify the etiology behind T1D and to pave the way for the development of new strategies to prevent and cure T1D.

Two overarching projects with the several sub-goals

The work is organized into two overarching projects with different sub-goals.

1. Reveal the etiology of T1D

  1. Pancreatic inflammation in T1D
  2. Single-cell transcriptomics on cells extracted with LCM
  3. Spatial transcriptomics on pancreatic tissue
  4. Mass spectrometry on isolated islands
  5. Lineage tracing using a lentivirus vector

2. Transplantation of isolated islets to cure patients with the most severe T1D, experimental and clinical studies

  1. Developing the method for isolating human islets
  2. Transplantation of hypoimmune islets