Diabetes UK has received £55,000 from the Freemasons to fund research at King’s College London into the link between diabetes and dementia.
The Freemasons’ health and care charity, the Masonic Samaritan Fund, made the £55,000 donation after a vote among hundreds of Freemasons, who nominated Diabetes UK for the award.
Rates of dementia are higher among people with diabetes, although the exact link between the conditions is unclear.
In people with diabetes, higher blood sugar levels trigger a process called ‘glycation’, which couples sugar and protein molecules together in an uncontrolled way. Evidence indicates that these sugar-protein clusters are linked to problems with thinking and learning and might contribute to conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
New drugs and targeted therapies
Past research, led by Professor Annalisa Pastore of King’s College London, has led to a new way of producing sugar-protein clusters in the lab, paving the way for ongoing studies of how they work. In the long term, this research could lead to new drugs and targeted therapies to combat diabetes-related complications and neurological problems such as dementia. Professor Pastore’s current project is due to run until January 2017.
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Diabetes UK Director of Research, said: “We are immensely grateful to the Freemasons for their generous donation, which will help this groundbreaking diabetes research to move forwards.
“The link between diabetes and dementia is worrying, but greater understanding of key processes like glycation could help us to address it. This research will take us a significant step in the right direction.”
The £55,000 donation was presented to Dr Rankin and Professor Pastore at King’s College London by Freemasons from the Masonic Province of Gloucestershire on Monday 11 November 2015.
Mr Henderson-Ross, the Provincial Grand Master of Gloucestershire, said: “We are very proud to show our support for Diabetes UK by awarding the charity a Masonic Samaritan Fund grant. Hundreds of Freemasons from around the Gloucestershire area have chosen to support the vital work of Professor Pastore, which could help prevent a rising number of people with diabetes from developing dementia.”