Breakthroughs in diabetes treatment and prevention

Photo by Juzer Kakal. Licensed under CC BY 4.0
Photo by Juzer Kakal. Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Diabetes currently affects more than 400 million people worldwide. In Canada alone, an estimated 3.7 million people could be living with diabetes by 2018, with requirements for regular care from a family doctor, complex diet management, daily insulin injections or medications, and periodic hospitalization.

While an ageing population is contributing to the rise in reported cases, diabetes has fast become one of the most prevalent diseases among children and youth. Prolonged time spent indoors, in front of TV and computer screens, combined with easy access to processed foods, has contributed to unprecedented rates of obesity commonly associated with the Type 2 variant of this chronic disease. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and even death. The strain on families and our health care system is enormous, and growing.

Diabetes is the world’s next health crisis and one of UBC’s top research priorities.

The discovery of insulin in the 1920s extended the life expectancy for diabetics worldwide. But even with insulin, balanced glucose levels are difficult to maintain, and patients must still contend with potential complications of this chronic disease. Better treatments are needed.

With your help, UBC’s world-leading researchers will be able to pursue new therapies that could dramatically change the outlook for children and adults living with diabetes.

In clinics and labs across Vancouver, dedicated teams of UBC scientists and physicians are studying the life course of the disease, from infancy through adulthood, to old age. Their research looks to the smallest pieces of the puzzle for the future of diabetes treatment and prevention – in the stem cells and hormones in our gastrointestinal tract, in the fats in our blood, and in our DNA. Working collaboratively, diabetes specialists are making breakthroughs at the cellular level that could help healthcare professionals identify diabetes-prone individuals sooner and provide them with targeted therapies to inhibit or even reverse the disease’s progress.

Donate today to support the future of diabetes treatment and help us change the direction of diabetes diagnoses in Canada.