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£7m award to tackle diabetes in Scotland and India

21 July 2017

The National Institute of Health Research has awarded £7 million to build a partnership between scientists in Scotland and India to tackle the diabetes crisis.

The University of Dundee will provide their expertise in using medical records to improve care for people with diabetes, and Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialist Centres in India will share access to their data from over 400,000 patients.

The project aims to compare the problems both countries face in combating Type 2 diabetes and improving the care that people with diabetes receive, reducing health inequalities in India and Scotland.

A significant cause

“We need to understand more about diabetes in different populations,” said Professor Colin Palmer, Chair of Pharmacogenomics at the University of Dundee, leading the project.

“This project will address that. It will also look at new ways of providing diabetes screening, using smartphone technology and retinal scans, which will provide valuable insights into how we can deliver more cost-effective and affordable diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, which is an issue here in the UK and around the world.”

People in Scotland can help this project by signing up to SHARE, a new initiative by NHS Research Scotland. SHARE is a register for people who are interested in participating in research and would allow using their NHS records to match them to research studies.

“Nearly 170,000 people have already signed up to SHARE to date and are helping diabetes research in Scotland,” commented Professor Palmer.

An important step forward

Making the funding announcement, Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said, “This funding allows our universities to strengthen their research and expertise as a leader in Global Health Research.

“The UK will continue to be at the forefront of health knowledge, and it is only right that we support developing nations as they improve care for patients and public.”

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK said: “Diabetes is a serious condition, which may lead to life-changing complications. It’s therefore so important that diabetes research gets more investment, so that we can understand nore about the condition and find better treatments faster."

"It’s fantastic to see partnerships between the UK and India helping us to reach this goal – none of which would be possible without people with diabetes sharing their data.”

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