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Research Is the Key to Unlocking Better Diabetes Care

Medical professionals working in a lab
Medical professionals working in a lab

Dr. Jan Hux

Chief Science Officer
Diabetes Canada

Diabetes care was revolutionized in 1922, when the first lifesaving injection of insulin was given to a child in Toronto with Type 1 diabetes. The discovery and development of insulin in Canada started a proud history of diabetes research leadership. Since 1975, Diabetes Canada has contributed to this leadership by investing $135 million into Canadian diabetes research.

This investment is important because research helps Canadians live better with diabetes. Between 1990 and 2010, the rates of diabetes-caused heart attacks, strokes, and amputations all decreased by more than 50% — the result of applying research findings to health care.

The hardest part of research is waiting to see results. A good example is Dr. Pere Santamaria, a Diabetes Canada researcher since 1993. We were the first to invest in his ideas. We helped him start his career and have supported him ever since. He is getting closer to a cure for Type 1 diabetes, having stopped it in mice. Still a long road ahead, but we are hopeful.

While we continue to hope for a cure, we know that decades of research have produced better forms of insulin and ways to deliver it, such as insulin pumps. New drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes are being introduced regularly. Better blood sugar testing equipment has made adjusting treatments to your body more precise.

With so much to celebrate, why continue? Actually, we desperately need new and better treatments for the 11 million Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is a silent epidemic in Canada and we need to take action. Research investment today means better care tomorrow.

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