Brisbane's Mater Hospital in diabetes breakthrough

A breakthrough by a Brisbane Mater Hospital medical team may mean that a simple blood test could be used to predict whether young children are likely to develop a widespread form of diabetes in later life.

The Brisbane weekly Catholic Leader reports that the Mater Medical Research Institute's research has the potential to help predict and manage Type 1 diabetes, a disease that is killing millions and costing billions each year.

In the study, Institute researchers and doctors at the Queensland Diabetes Centre at the Mater Children's Hospital identified that children with Type 1 Diabetes had fewer dendritic cells in their blood when compared with children the same age who do not have diabetes.

Dr Andrew Cotterill of the Queensland Diabetes Centre said the discovery held great promise for the 230 million people worldwide who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes.

"Worldwide the incidence of diabetes is on the rise, particularly amongst children.

"These findings suggest a simple blood test could be used to predict from a very early age whether children are likely to suffer from Type 1 Diabetes," Dr Cotterill said.

"This breakthrough is the tip of the iceberg and will be a major catalyst for inspiring new therapies to better manage the disease and its progression by restoring the number of dendritic cells to the age-appropriate level."

"Correcting this imbalance alone or in conjunction with current treatments like insulin injections may suppress the disease in newly diagnosed patients or reduce the likelihood of developing the disease in high-risk patients."

The Institute was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1998 as an independent medical research institute and is co-located on the Mater Hospital campus in South Brisbane.

Mater study finds clue to diabetes (Catholic Leader, 29/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Mater Hospital Brisbane

Indigenous communities beat diabetes (CathNews, 26/7/07)

27 Jul 2007