Oxford University researchers and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust will lead one of eight new Local Research Networks for diabetes across the UK, working with hospitals and patients throughout the Thames Valley area to develop prevention methods and treatments for diabetes.
The national Diabetes Research Network, with its eight dedicated Local Research Networks, was announced last week by the Department of Health and the UK Clinical Research Network. The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust will receive £1.2 million over three years to fund the Thames Valley network. The money will go to the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), which is a joint venture between Oxford University and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust with world-leading expertise in diabetes.
Diabetes is an increasingly important condition in the UK and now affects around five per cent of the adult population. The network will undertake clinical trials with patients to find ways to prevent the development of diabetes and improve the lives of people with diabetes.
Dr Andrew Farmer, from the Diabetes Trials Unit at OCDEM, will lead the Thames Valley network. Staff employed by the Local Diabetes Research Network will work throughout the Thames Valley area, collaborating with hospitals and patients. Dr Farmer said: 'I'm excited at the possibility of local people with diabetes being able to take part in a wide range of research studies through the network. This work is vital to help improve treatment of diabetes.'
Professor Rury Holman, Director of the Diabetes Trials Unit at OCDEM, said: 'The creation of new networks dedicated to diabetes research will provide much-needed ability to evaluate the exciting novel therapeutic opportunities that have arisen from recent basic science advances, and to determine which will be of real benefit to people with diabetes.'
Another researcher at OCDEM, Professor David Matthews, is Associate Director of the national network. Speaking about the establishment of the national network with its eight centres of expertise, he said: 'I believe we now have a unique opportunity to engage those with diabetes and those undertaking care and research in a partnership which will enlarge our understanding and invigorate our search for better treatments and ultimately a cure.'
Professor Des Johnston (Imperial College London), Director of the Diabetes Network nationally, said: 'This is a very exciting development in clinical diabetes research. It provides the infrastructure for clinical trials and other clinical research in diabetes which should place the NHS in the best position to become the world leader in this area.'
Dr Sue Roberts, National Clinical Director for Diabetes, said: 'The eight areas that have been selected include world-class research organisations in their own right, and this initiative will enable a much larger part of the diabetes community to work with them and gain from their experience. Coordinating the regional efforts will also enable new ideas and new treatments to be tested much more quickly, and give an even greater insight into how diabetes occurs and methods of improving treatment and care.'