Department of Diabetes fact sheet

What the department does

Diabetes is an exploding epidemic and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system. Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, with more than 280 Australians developing the disease every day. This makes it the fastest growing chronic condition in the country. In 2013, diabetes caused 5.1 million deaths globally.

  • One of the major objectives of the Department is the clinical translation of research findings to benefit patients
  • Nurture young research talent through mentoring during PhD projects
  • Our team is working on diverse strategies – from dietary intervention to new pharmacological approaches – to combat diabetes and its complications; the three most significant of which are kidney disease, heart disease and blindness.

Fast facts

Department facts

  • 60 researchers
  • 10 critical areas
  • 7 current PhD students and over 40 completed
  • Over 500 publications
  • $20M set up cost and a further $2M from philanthropic sources

Diabetes facts

  • 1.7 million Australians, 5.1 million deaths globally
  • 1 in every 9 health dollars is spent on diabetes
  • Estimated to rise past one trillion dollars (AUD) per annum worldwide (International Diabetes Foundation)

Case studies

Case study 1: ACE inhibitors slow down kidney disease

Professor Mark Cooper’s ground-breaking research from the 1980s identified enzymes (angiotensin-converting-enzyme [ACE] inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers [ARB]) that decrease the amount of protein in the urine, which in turn slow or even prevent the progression to diabetes-related kidney disease. The research was sufficiently promising to progress it through pre-clinical trials, then human trials, and the findings have been widely incorporated into medications and treatment protocols around the world.

Case study 2: Using NOX enzymes to combat kidney and heart disease

Innovative research by Monash scientists has progressed to clinical trials in humans for the treatment of kidney disease. Professor Karin Jandeleit-Dahm and her team have shown that an enzyme known as a NOX inhibitor, reduced inflammation and could even reverse complications which had already progressed in diabetic patients. The results using the novel NOX inhibitor in diabetic nephropathy will form the basis of clinical trials later this year at the Alfred campus.