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01 Dec 2017

The Government has announced and funded a new researc hresearch project into type 1 diabetes.

The project will be run by St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne and will bring together four of Australia’s top research teams. It will be headed by Professor Thomas Kay.

Type 1 diabetes, for which there is currently no known cure, represents around 10 per cent of all cases of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. It affects approximately 150,000 Australians.

Although its onset occurs most frequently in people under 30 years, type 1 diabetes is emerging more in older people.

New research suggests almost half of all people who develop the condition are diagnosed over the age of 30.

The project will focus on three intersecting themes: 

  • early life and understanding why the disease develops;
  • prevention and seeking to identify new drugs to stop the disease from occurring; and
  • treatment aiming to improve therapies to replace the cells that are destroyed during the disease process.

This research will be critical to developing integrated approaches to assist those with the disease and to find ways to stop it occurring in the first instance.

Professor Kay said the emotional, physical and financial impacts of type 1 diabetes are far-reaching for those who are diagnosed with the disease, as well as for their families and friends. 

“It is our intention to make discoveries that positively impact on those living with the disease, and hopefully, prevent others from developing it in the future,” Professor King said.

“On behalf of myself (from St Vincent’s) and my co-chief investigators Professor Andrew Lew and Professor Len Harrison (both from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Research); and Professor Philip O’Connell from the Westmead Institute of Research and Westmead Clinical School (NSW)) – we are honoured to accept this substantial grant to undertake research into type 1 diabetes, and are grateful to the Australian Government for making this important, and potentially for some, life-changing announcement.

“Collectively, we have spent many years of our professional lives investigating type 1 diabetes, so we are keen and committed to do our best to make discoveries that will prevent or minimise, its impacts.

This funding is from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s grants program.



Published: 01 Dec 2017