Professor Charles Mackay, who will be named today as Australian Diabetes Council Chair of Diabetes, believes that we are at the start of a process of discovery that could see the prevention of a majority of all forms of diabetes in future generations.
“We’re at the beginning of something that is as exciting to me as the discovery of electricity, there’s so much to come from what it will trigger. I’m confident we’ll be able to reduce the incidence of diabetes dramatically in the not too distant future,” said Professor Mackay.
Professor Mackay’s previous research has already been translated into real world medications and treatments, with more in development, but it is hoped it will also unlock the secrets of what triggers type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases.
“As Australian Diabetes Council Chair of Diabetes I want to start a little revolution. I’m looking to change perceptions about diabetes and add years to people’s lives,” said Professor Mackay.
The key, researchers have discovered, is fibre. While fibre has consistently been recommended by Australian Diabetes Council’s dietitians and educators, its significance in regulating the bacteria found in the gut, and in turn the immune and metabolic responses, has not yet been fully understood.
“The theme for World Diabetes Day is ‘take a step for diabetes’ and our members bold decision to invest $5 million to fund Professor McKay’s appointment can be seen as a collective leap for diabetes in Australia as it ensures continued innovation in diabetes research” said Nicola Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Diabetes Council.
“We elected to partner with the Charles Perkins Centre because it brings together experts and researchers from different disciplines in collaboration designed to ease the daily impact of chronic disease by translating the work of the University of Sydney into real-world solutions”, she added
“We wanted to find someone who is internationally recognised as an outstanding researcher. We’re particularly excited about appointing Professor Mackay as his research spans a great range of interconnected areas, including microbiology of the gut, inflammation, immune function and the relationship to autoimmune and metabolic conditions” said Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.
“We are at the beginning of understanding the combination of environmental and biological factors that determine metabolic and autoimmune disease, and Professor Mackay will bring together a truly multidisciplinary team with a new perspective to translate this groundbreaking research to improve people’s lives,” said Professor Simpson.
“Professor Mackay has an internationally recognised CV in research and life changing projects that have translated into new treatments and real world impacts on people impacted by disease. His network of colleagues stretches around Australia and around the globe, so his approach will be to ignite this network for the benefit of diabetes research in Australia,” said Ms Stokes.
Thursday, 14 November is World Diabetes Day, recognised by the UN as an official day to raise awareness of the disease around the globe.
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