Diabetes Australia announces more research funds and committed to search for a cure for type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Preserving the ability of these cells to produce insulin or transplanting healthy cells could unlock exciting new treatment options for people living with the condition, but researchers still need to overcome a number of challenges before this approach is viable.

Diabetes Australia is funding two promising studies in this area including research conducted by Professor Kerry-Anne Rye, at the University of New South Wales, into preserving the function of insulin producing beta-cells.

Another research study lead by Dr Natasha Rogers, from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, is trying to improve the success of islet cell transplants, a process where healthy islet cells are transplanted into the pancreases of people with diabetes.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said: “We are committed to supporting Australia’s diabetes researchers.”

“A cure for type 1 diabetes remains our goal. Every year we fill in different pieces of the puzzle and the research conducted by Professor Rye and Dr Rogers could play an important part.

“Diabetes is complex and multi-faceted, and research can improve the lives of people living with diabetes in a range of ways and that’s why Diabetes Australia provides funding to support many of Australia’s leading diabetes researchers.

“It is a puzzle and hopefully the studies we are funding fill in some of the missing pieces.

“Diabetes Australia is also funding research into new treatments for people with type 2 diabetes, ways of improving self-management of diabetes, insulin resistance, new treatments to help heal diabetic wounds, ways of preventing birth complications associated with gestational diabetes and new therapies for diabetes-related kidney disease.”

Diabetes Australia is supporting 12 research projects conducted by researchers at leading New South Wales’ research institutes including the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research.

Diabetes NSW and ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood welcomed the funding.

“In the last century diabetes research has changed the way people live with and think about diabetes and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Mr Eastwood said.

“We will continue to fundraise and invest in diabetes research until we’ve found a cure.”

The Awards will be presented tonight at a special National Diabetes Week event at New South Wales Parliament House.

The Diabetes Australia Research Program was established in 1987 to support and develop diabetes related research across Australia. The program provides funding towards the prevention, management and cure of all types of diabetes, as well as enabling and fostering young and upcoming researchers in the field of diabetes research.

Each year outstanding research projects are selected through a merit based, competitive, peer review process.

Full List of Grants

  • Associate Professor Carsten Schmitz-Peiffer, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Using Biosensors To Determine the Role of PKCe in Adipose Tissue

  • Dr Yanchuan Shi, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, *Investigation of the Role of Adipocyte-specific Y1 Receptors in Controlling the Browning of White Adipose Tissue in Diet-induced Obesity *

  • Associate Professor Megan Lord, University of New South Wales, Bioengineered growth factor binding scaffolds for improved diabetic wound healing

  • Professor Kerry-Anne Rye, University of New South Wales, *Generation of Pancreatic Beta-cells in Type 1 Diabetes *

  • Dr Carissa Bonner, University of Sydney, *Addressing inequalities in diabetes self-management with a health-literate action plan *

  • Dr James Krycer, University of Sydney, *Identifying molecular mechanisms of impaired glucose transport in insulin resistance *

  • Professor Jenny Gunton, University of Sydney, *Browning human fat to treat obesity and diabetes *

  • Associate Professor Samantha Hocking, University of Sydney,* Optimal timing of delivery of pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and maternal and perinatal outcomes *

  • Dr Chunling Huang, University of Sydney, *A novel therapeutic target for diabetic nephropathy *

  • Dr Natasha Rogers, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, *Thrombospondin-1 and CD47 regulate islet injury and transplant failure *