Madras Diabetes Research Foundation awarded a grant of £7m by NIHR Global Health for clinical partnership to study diabetes

Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, India’s leading Diabetes research centre has been awarded a grant of £7million from the National Institute of Health Research Global Health programme to establish a major Scotland-India clinical partnership to combat diabetes. This partnership will be established with University of Dundee, Scotland. The study aims to compare and contrast Diabetes in India and Scotland and determine the common and specific problems in both countries, in order to improve health and reduce health inequalities in India and Scotland.


The project commands access to two of the most advanced diabetes management systems in the world: Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centres (DMDSC), India’s largest clinical network of diabetes care in India, and Scottish Clinical Care Information – Diabetes Care (SCI-DC). With over 33 centres across India with 400,000 registered diabetes patients, DMDSC also hosts a WHO coordinating centre for non-communicable diseases prevention and control. The SCI-DC provides a sophisticated, shared electronic patient record for every individual with Type 2 diabetes in Scotland. This partnership brings an enormous clinical datasets collected in both Scotland and India of over 650,000 patients with diabetes with continuous data spanning over 20 years.


The project will also look at new ways of providing diabetes screening, using smartphone technology and retinal scans, which will provide valuable insights into how care providers can deliver more cost-effective and affordable diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, a major issue in India and across the world. During the course of the project, Dr Mohan’s team will also examine the potential for delivering next-generation telemedicine for diabetes screening in rural communities and deprived urban areas of Chennai.


Dr. V. Mohan, the Principal Investigator of the Indian site and Director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai, said, “Given the rising number of diabetics, there is an urgent need for a large, in-depth study of the specific causes and consequences of diabetes in India. Such a study will help in identifying different sub-types of diabetes that exist in India and will enable a better understanding on how best to manage each sub-type.  With over 20 years of follow up records of patients along with the genomic data from two countries, this project should help us contribute new knowledge in the field of Precision Medicine.”


“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. 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,” said Professor Colin Palmer, Chair of Pharmacogenomics at the University of Dundee and lead for the new research unit.


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