Major focus for children's diabetes research in WA
Research centre co-directors Associate Professor Liz Davis and Professor Tim Jones with special guests David Nickels (Type 1 patient), Judi Moylin MP (President Diabetes Australia) and parent of Type 1 Diabetic, Ruth Pascoe.
Research into childhood diabetes in Perth has been given a major boost with the launch of the WA Children's Diabetes Research and Education Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) on the eve of World Diabetes Day. It was launched by the President of Diabetes Australia, Hon Judi Moylan MP.
The Centre Was launched with more than $7million of funding over five years from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Australia, Australian Research Council and the University of Western Australia
Co-directors of the Centre, Professors Tim Jones and Liz Davis said the Centre was an exciting initiative which brings together experts in type 1 diabetes, exercise, health economics and education which puts the WA team at the forefront of Type 1 Diabetes research in the world.
"It not only represents a massive vote in confidence in the skills and expertise of our local researchers, but it gives children with Type 1 diabetes in WA greater access to cutting edge treatments through our research"
Over half of the approximately 2, 000 Australians diagnosed annually with Type 1 diabetes are children.
Professor Jones said the Centre would build the team's capacity to do more such as running clinical trials with international and national collaborators.
"One of the unique features of our Centre will be the high level of consumer involvement in all aspects of our research from highlighting problems they confront at home, to translation of our research into clinical outcomes."
Professor Davis said a holistic and multifaceted approach was another hallmark of the Centre because of the broad spectrum of research covered including programs to address the increased mental health issues suffered by young diabetics.
David Nickels, an 18 year old diabetic, spoke at the launch about his experience of participating in a continuous glucose monitoring trial with staff at the Centre.
"Living with Type 1 diabetes is extremely tough but working with the researchers in this trial has helped turnaround my attitude to diabetes and motivated me to take greater care in managing my blood sugar levels," said David.
He said the research team had also encouraged him to pursue his interest in professional cycling which has recently seen him secure a contract with Team NovoNordisk, an all Type 1 diabetic cycling team in the US.
Some of the other research projects which will be undertaken in the Centre include;
The first home trial of an "artificial pancreas" - the 'closed loop' insulin pump system - in Australiawhich will involve 200 families and 5 hospitals across Australia;
Studies to better understand the interaction of insulin with exercise and food intake;
Programs to support young diabetics in a school environment and
Development and trial of an app to measure the impact of anxiety on blood glucose levels in teenage diabetics.
Professor Jones said improving treatment for the growing number of children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes will not only improve their health but will also reduce the billion dollar costs of managing this incurable disease in our community.