Diabetes is a common life-long health condition. One in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes - the majority (88.2%) have type 2 diabetes and nearly 11% have type 1 diabetes (Scottish Government, 2014). It is thought that a further 49,000 people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (ScotPHO) and Diabetes UK estimates that at least 620,000 people in Scotland are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
To improve our understanding of the impact of changing diabetes care on our population, the complications associated with diabetes and the development of new therapies, the Scottish Diabetes Research Network (SDRN) led by Professor Rory McCrimmon, supports the setup and delivery of clinical and epidemiological research across Scotland.
A wide range of studies are conducted in the NHS focusing on methods of treatment, diagnosis, care and prevention of diabetes and diabetes-related complications. This work also helps support understanding of the causes of diabetes. Recent studies have included:
- Internationally funded trials in type 1 diabetes (Bioresource)
- a range of commercial trials of novel therapies for people with diabetes
- a groundbreaking multicentre trial of insulin pump therapy (REPOSE)
- novel trials of pharmacogenomics (DIRECT)
- rates of amputation in people with diabetes
Scotland can also draw on a series of unique research assets to support research including:
- SCI-Diabetes (Scottish Care Information - Diabetes), which tracks real-time clinical information on all 300,000 people with type I and type II Diabetes in Scotland. It is updated daily from all hospital clinics and 1,200 GP practices. This unique record can be interrogated to examine the natural history of the disease, trends in treatment and clinical outcomes such as those carried out by the Diabetes Epidemiology group, and has been successfully employed to recruit to clinical studies.
- Diabetes Research Register. Over 10,000 patients have consented to be part of an electronic database of patients who have agreed to be contacted about research for which they are eligible. This research register uses the latest clinical data on each patient to identify suitable patients for studies, thus increasing the recruitment rate and decreasing the screen failure rate.
- GoDARTS is A high-quality resource, initially funded by the Wellcome Trust and supported by Diabetes UK, has been created with the successful recruitment of over 10,000 consented patients with type 2 diabetes and 8000 matching controls people without diabetes . This resource is already available to researchers worldwide and is helping to define genetic factors related to diabetes including susceptibility, complications and response to treatment.
Implementation of the SDRN Primary Care Initiative also aims to expand the number of studies that can be supported by engaging GP practices to host a diabetes research nurse and conduct clinical trials. Most treatments for diabetes are delivered in primary care and primary care professionals have a key role to play in achieving the aims of diabetes research and increasing the range of patient populations which are accessible to researchers. The initiative won the Primary Care Award for innovation in service delivery at the 2015 Diabetes UK Professional Conference at the Excel, London in March 2015.
Scottish Diabetes Research Network (SDRN)
Diabetes Support Unit
Dundee DD1 9SY
Tel. + 44 (0)1382 383241