New research may help prevent diabetes-related kidney damage

Thursday, 10 September 2020

There may be good news for people living with diabetes with researchers hopeful they have uncovered a way to prevent kidney damage, one of the most common complications of diabetes.

There are currently an estimated 360,000 Australians living with diabetes who have some form of kidney disease.

Associate Professor Usha Panchapakesan, from the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute’s Renal Research Lab, has received the prestigious Type 1 Diabetes Millennium Award from Diabetes Australia to support her promising research.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said the Millennium Award was one of 13 research grants announced at a special event on Thursday evening.

“I’m pleased to announce that Associate Professor Panchapakesan has received the Type 1 Diabetes Millennium Award to support her research into potential new treatments to prevent kidney damage and disease, one of the most common complications of diabetes.

“Associate Professor Panchapakesan has identified a cilia protein in the kidney cell that may be involved in the signalling process that leads to kidney scarring in people with diabetes.

“The hope is that blocking this protein could prevent the initial kidney damage, thereby helping to prevent kidney disease.”

Diabetes Australia is supporting 13 diabetes research projects at leading New South Wales’ research institutes including the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the University of Newcastle.

Diabetes NSW and ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood welcomed the funding.

“We are proud to support a range of exciting research projects that will help pave the way for new treatments and knowledge that improves lives of people with diabetes,” Mr Eastwood said.

“Amongst the studies we are funding are a number that focus on type 1 diabetes including Dr Sarah Glastra’s research into improving pregnancy outcomes for women with type 1 diabetes.

“Dr Carmel Smart from the University of Newcastle will be looking at ways of continuing to improve the use of technology in type 1 diabetes in children while Dr Melissa Farnham from the University of Sydney will be studying the impact of low carbohydrate diets on people with type 1 diabetes.

“There are also some very important projects focusing on type 2 diabetes including University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Samantha Hocking’s research into the impacts of low kilojoule diets on type 2 diabetes management and Professor Stephen Twigg, also from the University of Sydney, will be looking at using physical activity to help treat diabetes-related liver disease.

“Research supported by the Diabetes Australia Research Trust continues to help develop new treatments to improve the quality of life for people with diabetes.

“We will continue to fundraise and invest in diabetes research until we’ve found a cure.”

The Awards were presented tonight at a special online presentation.

The Diabetes Australia Research Trust was established in 1987 to support and develop diabetes-related research across Australia. Donations provide funding towards the prevention, management and cure of all types of diabetes, as well as enabling and fostering young and up-and-coming diabetes researchers.

Each year outstanding research projects are selected through a merit based, competitive, peer review process.

Full List of NSW Grants

 Researcher Institute Project Title
Type 1 Diabetes Millennium Award
Associate Professor Usha Panchapakesan Kolling Institute of Medical Research The primary cilia in diabetic kidney disease: targeting the cellular antennas
Australian Diabetes Society – Diabetes Australia Research Program
Professor Trevor Biden Garvan Institute of Medical Research  A novel mechanism for co-ordinating insulin secretion and biosynthesis in pancreatic beta cells
General Grants
Dr Yanchuan Shi Garvan Institute of Medical Research Turning Up the Heat on Obesity and Diabetes, The Role of Y1 Receptors in Brown Fat Activity
Dr Sarah Glastras Kolling Institute of Medical Research Identifying biomarkers in early pregnancy that predict preeclampsia in women with type 1 diabetes.
Professor Kerry-Anne Rye University of New South Wales Preventing and Reversing Cardiovascular Complications in Patients with Diabetes
Professor Nigel Turner University of New South Wales Improving the anti-diabetic efficacy of NAD-boosting compounds
Dr Carmel Smart University of Newcastle Optimising postprandial glycaemia in children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes using Hybrid Closed Loop Insulin Delivery: Current challenges and practical clinical solutions.
Dr Melissa Farnham Heart Research Institute / University of Sydney Low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet in type 1 diabetes: do ketones protect the brain from adverse effects of hypoglycaemia?
Professor David James University of Sydney Intertwining genetics and metabolism: The fruit fly as a model of metabolic disease.
Associate Professor Samantha Hocking University of Sydney Caloric restriction by very low calorie diet or alternate day fasting for remission of type 2 diabetes; a pilot study
Dr Melkam Kebede University of Sydney The role of Cab45 in proinsulin sorting at the Trans-Golgi Network
Dr Yuen Ting Lam University of Sydney Therapeutic implication of novel carbon based nanoparticles for type 2 diabetes
Professor Stephen Twigg University of Sydney Can exercise training treat established NASH fibrosis in diabetes?


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