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Meet Diabetes Dragons' Den awardees: Emma and Elaine

Ahead of the launch of our Diabetes Dragons' Den for 2024, we're speaking to those who successfully pitched to our 'dragons' for funding last year.

In our final interview we hear from Emma Johns, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, who was successfully awarded funding alongside Elaine Butterly for their project exploring Hybrid Closed Loop to prevent recurrent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in high risk people with type one diabetes. Emma details their experience of the 'dragons' den' and how the grant will help their career - read the full interview below.

What is your project title?

Hybrid Closed Loop to prevent recurrent DKA in high risk people with type one diabetes (T1DM)

Can you give us some background on your project and its aims?

We are performing a pilot project of hybrid closed loop in 10 adults with T1DM and recurrent DKA. Participants will be supported to change from their existing treatment with multiple daily insulin injections, to hybrid closed loop insulin pump therapy. Following a 4-week transition period, the intervention will last for 12 months. Participants will receive frequent and intensive support and education from Diabetes Nurse Specialists. We hope this will lead to a reduction in DKA admissions and improved quality of life for our participants, and will provide a springboard to a larger, Scotland-wide, rollout involving a total of 52 participants.

What was your reaction to the grant award?

We are delighted to receive this recognition and support from ABCD and the Dragons. We feel strongly that this project offers the much-needed opportunity for some of our highest-risk patients to have access to diabetes technology with flexible and individualised support.

Tell us about your experience of the Dragon’s Den

The Dragons' Den was undoubtedly a nerve-wracking experience, but the Dragons were very fair and asked questions which we felt were very relevant to the project.

How will this grant award will help your career?

This project will offer us unique experience in diabetes service development and innovation. This is hugely beneficial to us as doctors approaching the end of our training, who may soon become involved in design of diabetes services working as Consultants. 

First launched in 2023, the Diabetes ‘Dragons' Den’ aims to provide a route for supporting clinically relevant innovative projects in the area of diabetes care.

Learn more about the funding scheme.