The University of Oxford has received £2.5 million for a research project into type 1 diabetes.

The funding comes from the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge, a partnership between the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK, and JDRF UK.

The aim is to ultimately find a cure for the disease.

The funds will be used by Professor David Hodson and his team to investigate how insulin-boosting molecules on the surface of beta cells could be utilised to create better performing lab-grown beta cells.

The team will also explore if these specific molecules could shield transplanted beta cells from the immune system or stimulate new beta cells to develop within the pancreas.

If effective, such beta cell therapies could revolutionise the way type 1 diabetes is treated and even form part of a cure.

With restored ability to produce insulin, individuals with the condition could discontinue their use of insulin injections and pumps, minimise the need for constant blood sugar monitoring, and reduce the chances of diabetes complications.

The backing stems from the Steve Morgan Foundation’s landmark £50 million pledge to hasten promising research that could provide life-altering new treatments for type 1 diabetes.

Oxford University is among six universities pioneering the new projects, which collectively total over £13 million.

Professor Hodson said: "We’ve developed an ambitious three-prong research programme that spans beta cell replacement, protection and regeneration, so as to give us the best chance of driving discoveries that could make these treatments available for people living with type 1 diabetes."

James Baillie, an Oxford local living with type 1 diabetes, said, "Living with type 1 diabetes is a constant battle with numbers.

"The thought of not having to deal with the daily stressful management of the condition is a welcome one.

"The anxiety of losing my sight would reduce and I wouldn’t feel so much stigma.

"If there is any glimpse of a cure, I'll take it."

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, research director at Diabetes UK, said: "The research we’re getting underway in Oxford and across the UK brings with it fresh hope of a cure for everyone living with type 1 diabetes."

Rachel Connor, research partnerships director at JDRF UK, added: "All six projects hold great promise for people with type 1 diabetes.

"We can’t wait to see the results."

Founders of the Steve Morgan Foundation, Steve and Sally Morgan, said: “This is an exciting moment in our partnership with Diabetes UK and JDRF UK. We are astounded by the innovation and vision of the new projects and look forward to seeing how the research helps us realise our ambition."