National network for diabetes research launched by two leading British universities

Research into future treatments for people with diabetes has been given a major boost with the launch of a new national network for diabetes research, launched today.

Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford will lead on a £20 million initiative from the Department of Health to set up a UK Diabetes Research Network to co-ordinate diabetes research in the UK.

The network allows greater collaboration between diabetes researchers in order to develop long term strategies and treatments for managing diabetes.

As a result of the network, researchers will be able to conduct larger and more efficient clinical trials that will examine factors that have an influence on the development of diabetes, its management and the complications that arise from it.

The network will facilitate trials into diet, exercise and drug therapies and epidemiological studies, creating a national database of people with diabetes who might be interested in joining these studies. This is a significant development, as most diabetes care is carried out in the primary care sector by general practitioners and as a result databases of people with diabetes tend to be fragmented around the country.

The network will coordinate initiatives from health service groups, practitioners and academic groups as well as from industry.

Professor Desmond Johnston, from Imperial College London, and St Mary's Hospital, and Director of the Diabetes Research Network said:

"Diabetes, and particularly non-insulin dependent diabetes, is a fast growing problem in the UK which calls for new strategies for treating and managing this chronic condition and even preventing its onset."

Professor David Matthews, from the University of Oxford, and Associate Director of the network, adds:

"We are delighted to be involved with the UK Diabetes Research Network, and the opportunities it will provide for research collaborations. Through the network, we look forward to working with our UK collaborators to make a real difference in developing new strategies and treatments for diabetes."

Professor Sally Davies, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health adds:

"The UK Diabetes Research Network will provide a world-class health service infrastructure to support clinical research and accelerate patient access to the most appropriate treatment and care in all parts of the country."

In order to develop the network, the co-ordinating centre is putting out a call for local research networks in the British Medical Journal on 23 July.

The co-ordinating centre for the network will be based in the International Centre for Circulatory Health, a collaborative research centre set up by Imperial and St Mary's NHS Trust in London.

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