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Circus performer with diabetes thanks Guy’s and St Thomas’ trial for managing her condition

A circus performer with diabetes has thanked the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital who have helped her manage her condition.

Ruby Wain, 24, a performer specialising in aerial ropes, silk, hoops and fire, is taking part in the COMBAT Type-1 trial, which aims to find out if a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis could help people recently diagnosed with type-one diabetes.

Ruby, who was diagnosed last year after falling ill while working in Gran Canaria, said: “People with diabetes are just normal people, and we can do everything anyone else can.

“But you have to plan ahead a lot, and it takes extra effort, all day, every day. It can feel very relentless.”

Around 400,000 people in the UK have Type-One diabetes, a form of diabetes where the immune system attacks cells producing insulin.

It means the cirus perfomer has to keep her blood glucose levels within safe limits, by checking them regularly and injecting insulin when required.

Being on the trial has given her an extra layer of support to manage the condition she said.


“I see someone every three months and have a chance to ask questions. I’m giving my time, so it feels like the team are happy to give their time and help me with managing my diabetes,” she said.

The small trial involving thirteen patients is seeing if the drug Abatacept helps people with type 1 diabetes extend the period when their body is still producing some insulin.

Dr Sam Jerram, a Specialist Registrar in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Guy’s and St Thomas’, is running the trial.

“Just after people develop type 1 diabetes, there’s often a period where the pancreas is still producing some insulin, and that makes it easier to control blood sugar levels,” said Dr Jerram.

“We’re trying to see if Abatacept prolongs this period because we know that if patients are able to control their sugar levels better, they are less likely to have complications down the line.”

He added: “Ruby has a really physically demanding job and so it’s especially important for her to be looking after herself and managing her diabetes well.”

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