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Scotland leads the way in Type 1 diabetes research

Diabetes UK and the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government have today announced joint funding of over £675,000 to establish a major resource in Scotland for research into Type 1 diabetes.

The "Scottish Diabetes Research Network (SDRN) Type 1 Diabetes Bioresource" will see the development of an invaluable data source for researchers and will lay down the foundation for many future diabetes studies worldwide. A key aim of the Bioresource project is to develop methods for preventing Type 1 diabetes and its associated complications.

Enabling future research

Starting in late 2010, patients will be invited to take part during their usual clinic visits. A network of diabetes specialists across Scotland will ask patients aged 16 years and over with Type 1 diabetes to donate a sample of blood and urine. By combining samples with information on the patient’s diabetes history, the bioresource will enable future research into the causes and consequences of Type 1 diabetes, which could lead to new avenues of research into prevention and improved treatments.

Study of up to 10,000 people with Type 1 diabetes

The study will initially take place at clinics in Aberdeen, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kirkcaldy and Livingston and aims to include up to 10,000 patients, with other centres anticipated to join as the study progresses.

"The spirit of collaboration between diabetes researchers across Scotland and the two funders has been fantastic. Most importantly, people living with diabetes are hugely supportive of our work," said study co-ordinator Professor Helen Colhoun from the University of Dundee.

"This ambitious project will help us to identify and monitor new biomarkers, i.e. biological characteristics, which will be used to follow the progress and response to the treatment of patients with Type 1 diabetes and to further our understanding of the causes of the condition. All personal information will be recorded anonymously to ensure patient confidentiality," said Professor Colhoun.

Scotland uniquely placed to carry out research

The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "We are delighted to be able to provide funding for this project which will be an invaluable research resource with the ultimate aim of improving the treatment of patients with diabetes. Scotland is uniquely placed to carry out such research and this project capitalises on recent collaborative working to make best use of patient data."

Dr. Iain Frame, Diabetes UK Director of Research, said: "I am delighted that Diabetes UK is able to fund this project with the CSO. Although based in Scotland because of its unique electronic health record system, this project will have a huge impact over the coming years for new and ongoing research projects into Type 1 diabetes across the world. I very much look forward to working with this network of clinicians and researchers to ensure the success of this exciting venture."

Register created for people who wish to take part in research

The project will also be supported by dedicated Diabetes Research Nurses provided by theScottish Diabetes Research Network, which is also funded by the CSO. The Network is currently establishing a Diabetes Research Register of patients with diabetes who wish to take part in research. This has been very popular with patients, demonstrating the desire amongst the Scottish diabetes community to participate in high-quality research.

The project is being co-funded by Diabetes UK and the CSO, who are providing £451,000 and £225,000 respectively over the three-year funding period.

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