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$2.5 million grants will help diabetes sufferers around the world

Two major research grants awarded to teams at The George Institute for Global Health will significantly improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes, in particular across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China. 

Diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease. Over 347 million people have diabetes with more than 80% of these living in low-middle income countries. 

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council funded the grants as part of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD), which comprises 10 of the world’s leading health research funding organisations and aims to reduce the global burden of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases by coordinating research across the world.

The grants totalling $2.5 million were awarded to Professor Anushka Patel, Chief Scientist of The George Institute for Global Health, and Associate Professor David Peiris, Head of Primary Health Care Research. 

Professor Robyn Norton, Principal Director of The George Institute congratulated Professor Patel and Associate Professor Peiris on this significant funding success.  “Funding like the GACD grants enable Australia and the research sector to play a critical role in effectively targeting the biggest burdens of disease and injury in the region, and The George Institute is privileged to have a role in this effort.”    

Type 2 Diabetes affects 113.9 million people in China, the largest number of any country in the world, and its prevalence is expected to continue rising.

According to Professor Patel:  “These grants will make an enormous difference in treating, preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes, especially in areas with limited resources and poor access to needed healthcare.”

Professor Patel and her team received a grant of $1,256,500 to adapt and implement a lifestyle modification program to prevent type 2 diabetes in women with gestational diabetes living in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The research will involve conducting a randomised controlled trial of this program to determine whether it can be applied and affordably brought to scale in South Asia.

“If the intervention is found to be effective and scalable, the development of Type 2 Diabetes could be delayed or prevented in more than a quarter of a million young South Asian women over a 5-year period,” said Professor Patel.

Associate Professor Peiris and Professor Zhang Puhong from The George Institute China received a grant of $1,385,858 to support the development and trial of a digital intervention program to help people with type 2 diabetes better manage their condition and prevent complications. The trial will involve communities in Beijing and rural villages in China and employ mobile phone technologies to help overcome issues of access to effective health care. 

This project is a flagship study that will be conducted at the China Center for mHealth Innovation at The George Institute China.