The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) today called for projects that adapt science to meet the needs of people living with diabetes and to implement practical solutions for improving diabetes care and prevention worldwide. The programme, known as BRIDGES (Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments and Systems), was announced at the 19th World Diabetes Congress in Cape Town, South Africa and was officially launched today at the 67th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.
The IDF BRIDGES grant programme will fund translational research projects in diabetes. Proposals should support cost effective and sustainable strategies that can be adopted in real world settings, for the prevention and control of diabetes. The BRIDGES grant programme is funded through an educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company.
"Although there have been tremendous advances in science, particularly through landmark clinical trials, diabetes still continues to rise, and the related morbidity and mortality have not been reduced. Translational research is needed to identify practical strategies that can improve the lives of people living with diabetes," said Professor Jean-Claude Mbanya, President-elect of IDF.
An example of translational research in diabetes is taking proven lifestyle interventions found effective through trials and training groups not usually considered to be devoted to healthcare (religious groups, teachers, employees) on healthy living. For example, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a multi-site project implemented throughout the United States whose findings demonstrated that lifestyle intervention was effective in reducing the risk for diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a translational research project is being facilitated where people in urban communities with high risk for diabetes are using the DPP lifestyle interventions and doing prevention programmes in their churches and wellness centres. Thus far, the programme has been highly effective and provided the opportunity to reach underserved and at-risk communities and to build trust.
"Unfortunately there are not always opportunities to translate the science from ivory tower academic institutions into real world communities," said Dr Linda Siminerio, Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute and former IDF Senior Vice-President. "Through translational research and with the help of key community members, we begin to learn how to effectively champion healthy lifestyles, and improve our ability to prevent diabetes and its complications." "In many cases we have the scientific knowledge and proven therapies, however we need to adapt this knowledge to meet the needs of our communities.
BRIDGES is the perfect vehicle to do this and I would encourage all health professionals and researchers to join us and to channel their expertise to improving the lives of people living with diabetes." Through BRIDGES, IDF will provide funding for pilot projects and outcome studies over the course of seven years. Relevant topics include methods and strategies to improve health care delivery to people with/at risk of diabetes; enhance diabetes self management; promote healthy lifestyles or lifestyle change to reduce the risk of diabetes; and identify people with pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes in cost effective ways.
"Lilly is committed to delivering breakthrough pharmaceutical products that improve the lives of people with diabetes," said Jose Caro, MD, Vice President of Global Diabetes Care Outcomes, Eli Lilly and Company. "Still, we know that success won't come through medical intervention alone. We believe BRIDGES will identify important new ways to help people with diabetes meet the challenges they face every day and we are excited about this next step."
The BRIDGES Review Committee, a multi-disciplinary committee managed by IDF will consider cost effectiveness, sustainability and the ability of interventions to be widely replicated in other settings. They will encourage projects targeting high risk groups and underserved populations.
The application form is available at www.idfbridges.org. Deadline for application is 2 November 2007. Grantees will be selected and announced in early December 2007.