Message from Dr. Norman Rosenblum on National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes affects roughly 3 million Canadians and their families, and the disease can lead to complications that last a lifetimeFootnote 1. A comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying diabetes diagnostic tools, programs and treatment options for people with diabetes, as well as better strategies for prevention are essential to improve the quality of life for Canadians who are affected by the disease. This year’s theme for World Diabetes Day, marked on November 14, is The Family and Diabetes, to emphasize the role that families play in the treatment, education and prevention of diabetes and how it takes a team to manage the disease.

This November, I would like to highlight CIHR-funded researchers from coast to coast who are studying this chronic disease across the lifespan and in various populations:

  • The Manitoba DREAM team is looking at predictors, gene variants, and the interplay between genetics and diet of type 2 diabetes in children, including among Indigenous Peoples;
  • Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret is studying how teens and adults can improve their blood glucose levels with wearable devices and an online educational program;
  • Dr. Luigi Bouchard is focusing on gestational diabetes;
  • Dr. Farid Mahmud is studying drug therapies and invention strategies in children and adolescents;
  • Dr. Tim Kieffer’s lab is investigating insulin transplants and stem cells to treat diabetes; and
  • Dr. Gillian Booth and her team are examining how neighbourhood walkability impacts diabetes prevention and is developing ehealth virtual visits and videoconferencing tools for patients and doctors.

Collaboration is key to achieving better health for Canadians. To that end, last April 2017, CIHR and JDRF announced they were joining forces to invest $30M to support new innovative clinical research. To date, we have funded three clinical trials for innovative new treatments. On October 29, CIHR also had the privilege of hearing the inspiring and impactful stories of four JDRF Kids for a Cure Youth Delegates and their families who took part in JDRFs Kids for a Cure Lobby Day activities on Parliament Hill.

The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Diabetes Action Canada Network, aims to transform the health outcomes of people living with diabetes and its related complications. This begins by forging meaningful connections between patients and caregivers, and their primary health care providers and specialists. The network is co-led by Drs. Gary Lewis and Jean-Pierre Desprès. Read about their latest updates in our Health Research in Action series on World Diabetes Day, November 14th.

To learn more about how CIHR-funded researchers are making a difference in the lives of Canadians, I invite you to read the CIHR Discoveries for Life profiles and consult the resources listed below.

Dr. Norman Rosenblum, MD, FRCPC
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

Additional Resources

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