Diabetes Australia helping to fight diabetes-related heart disease

New treatments for diabetes-related heart disease are a major focus of the 2018 Diabetes Australia Research Program Grants announced in Melbourne last night.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said heart disease was one of the most significant and serious complications confronting people with diabetes.

“People with type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely to die from heart failure and cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of people with diabetes,” Professor Johnson said.

“Unfortunately, many current treatments for diabetes-related heart disease aren’t as effective as we would like.”

“In fact, a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that Australians with type 2 diabetes have not seen the same improvements in cardiovascular disease outcomes as Australians without diabetes.”

“We are hopeful that by supporting these new research projects we will see a breakthrough in new treatments in the future.”

“Professor Rebecca Ritchie will be studying an innovative new gene therapy that could not only treat heart failure in people with diabetes, but hopefully reverse it.”

“The therapy involves looking at a little studied pathway of glucose metabolism – the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) – that only accounts for about 5 per cent of the way the body processes glucose, but could have a major impact on heart failure.”

“In another project, Dr Miles De Blasio will be studying gene therapy as a way of treating cardiomyopathy, a common heart-related complication of diabetes.

“Dr De Blasio’s research will focus on the viability of using gene therapy to increase the function of a naturally occurring protein that could help the body fight against cardiomyopathy.”

“Dr Cheng Xue Qin has also received a grant that will see her focus on discovering new drugs that may help improve outcomes in people with diabetes-related heart problems.”

A total of 27 grants for Victorian researchers, worth a total of $1.6 million, were announced as part of World Diabetes Day.

Other projects to receive funding from Diabetes Australia include those that look at the impact of exercise on type 1 diabetes, diabetes related retinopathy, diabetes related kidney disease and links between polycystic ovary syndrome and diabetes.

“We are excited to support researchers at leading Victorian institutes including The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Monash University, North Richmond Community Health, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Victorian University, St. Vincent’s Medical Research Institute, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research,” Professor Johnson said.

“Diabetes Australia is committed to supporting world leading researchers on projects that will help make a difference to people’s lives and reduce the impact of the diabetes epidemic.”

Diabetes Victoria is a significant contributor to the national diabetes research funding pool.

“Every dollar directed towards research is important. Each research project funded may hold a vital key to that next development, helping to make a real difference,” Diabetes Victoria CEO Craig Bennett said.

"I’m pleased to congratulate our 27 Victorian research grant recipients, who are all advocates of Victoria’s brilliant reputation for world class medical research."

You can see the full list of projects here:

2018 Diabetes Australia Research Trust - Project List (Victoria)