It’s being called the greatest epidemic of the 21st century, and the biggest challenge confronting Australia's health system, and with good reason. It affects more than one million Australians living with the disease, with a further 1.5 million expected to develop "pre-diabetes" over the next 10 years.
Diabetes by the numbers
- The global cost of the disease is reported to be more than A$860 billion annually
- 280 Australians develop diabetes every day – one person every five minutes
- It is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia
- For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
- In 2013, diabetes caused 5.1 million deaths globally
Enter Monash University’s new Department of Diabetes – the first and only university department in Australia dedicated to the disease, and arguably the leading diabetes laboratory worldwide.
Led by Professor Mark Cooper AO, a world-renowned expert and senior endocrinologist at the Alfred Hospital, it’s a collaboration between Monash’s Central Clinical School and Alfred Health, tackling both the disease and its extensive complications.
Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and, arguably, the leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis, adult blindness and limb amputations in the world.
With our expert team of 60 scientists working across 10 critical areas of diabetes research, we’re placing a strong emphasis on quickly translating innovative research discoveries into improving treatment outcomes for people with the disease.
“We've combined great research teams, basic scientists, clinicians, modern researchers, to do what's really an integrated approach, studying diabetes from both a very fundamental level right through to the clinical level.
“The group’s disease-focussed scientific and medical research complement the rich suite of translational research already undertaken in the Central Clinical School in a wide variety of clinical and academic departments.
Education and thought-leadership are also crucial to tackling the diabetes problem.
“In addition to research, we also have a strong commitment to education – of the public, medical professionals and our future research leaders,” Professor Cooper said.
By targeting diabetes complications, and developing new treatments, the team is working to improve the outlook for people with diabetes, provide better quality of life, and a longer life that's healthy.