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Scotland has an established nationwide informatics research programme that aims to position the country at the forefront of diabetes care internationally with the added benefit of producing a translational biomedical infrastructure for diabetes research.
The Scottish Diabetes Research Network was set up in 2006 as part of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration with the aim of increasing both the quality and quantity of diabetes research conducted in Scotland.
Scotland has more than 50 active researchers in Diabetes who have a wide range of research expertise and interests.
They draw on a series of unique research assets including:
- SCI-DC (Scottish Care Information - Diabetes Collaboration), which tracks real time clinical information on all 239,000 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 exploited 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 6,000 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.
Major research studies which are currently underway or recently completed include:
- SDRN Type 1 bioresource led by Prof Helen Colhoun which is creating a 10, 000 Type 1 patient bioresource linking DNA , biomarkers with clinical outcome data ( from SCI-DC )
- REMOVAL, [CASE STUDY] funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Merck-Serono, led by Professor Petrie which is the largest double blind randomised trial with adults with Type 1 Diabetes at risk of CVD. This seeks to secure statistically robust evidence of the effect of Metformin on this group.
- LEADER led by Prof John Petrie in Scotland which is examining the effects of long term GLP1 treatment on cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 diabetes
This systematic approach to diabetes care has been associated with year on year improvements in care processes and outcomes: for example a 40% reduction in amputations (Diabetes Care 1008) and 43% reduction in laser treatment for sight-threatening retinopathy over a seven year period. (Diabetic Medicine 2009). Such data are rarely available on a nationwide basis.