The Lord Provost Ian Borthwick became the 200,000th signatory to the Scottish Health Research Register on 12th March 2018. SHARE is a unique initiative which aims to make it easier for researchers to carry out ground breaking medical research by providing a database of suitable and willing recruits. SHARE also uses blood left over from routine testing to help improve treatments for diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Asthma.
One of the many successes stemming from the SHARE initiative is the award of a £7million Global Health Research Unit, to Prof Colin Palmer, University of Dundee, by the National Institute Health Research programme. The aim of the unit is to establish a major Scotland-India clinical partnership to combat Global Diabetes. The NIHR Global Health Research Unit is collaborating with Dr V Mohan’s Madras Diabetes Research Center, based in Chennai, India to combine Dundee’s world-leading expertise in the use of medical record databases (such as SHARE) with Chennai’s large patient data set covering over 400,000 Indian diabetic patients. Diabetes in India and Scotland will be compared and contrasted to determine the common and specific problems in both countries, with the aim of providing an improvement in health and reduction in health inequalities in India and Scotland.
“Diabetes is a major problem in India with 1 in 12 people affected, amounting to 69 million individuals currently, which is more than the entire UK population,” says Professor Colin Palmer, Chair of Pharmacogenomics at the University of Dundee and lead for the new research unit. “With increasing economic development and lifestyle changes those numbers are rapidly increasing. Yet current knowledge on how diabetes develops, how patients respond to medications and the causes of medical complications that arise are largely derived from studies on white European ancestry populations. This is despite the fact that diabetes in Europeans is very different to diabetes in South Asians. “We need to understand more about diabetes in different populations. There is an urgent need for a large in-depth study of the specific causes and consequences of diabetes in India in order to identify different subtypes of diabetes that exist and understand how best to manage each subtype. “This project will address that. It will also look at new ways of providing diabetes screening, using smartphone technology and retinal scans, which will provide valuable insights into how we can deliver more cost-effective and affordable diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, which is an issue here in the UK and around the world.”
Dr Mohan and Professor Palmer talked about the their current research into Diabetes at a public lecture given at the Gannochy Lecture Theatre, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School Dundee.