McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster researchers lead global study on causes of diabetes

Published: October 13, 2006
Sonia Anand
Dr. Sonia Anand is leading an international study on diabetes that is receiving $1.6 million from CIHR.

McMaster University researchers have received funding to conduct one of the world’s largest studies of genetic causes of diabetes in adults.

The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) today announced the EpiDREAM project will receive more than $1.6 million over the next three years, as part of its announcement of funding for 610 Ontario research projects totalling $129 million.

In addition to support from the CIHR/Rx&D Collaborative Research Program, the $5.8 million study is being funded by industry partners GlaxoSmithKline, sanofi-aventis Canada, Inc., and sanofi-aventis Global. In-kind contributions were received from the University de Montreal Community Genomic Medicine Centre at the Chicoutimi Hospital of the Centre de santé et de services sociaux de Chicoutimi, Genome Quebec, the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre.

The McMaster researchers will team up with genetics experts from Quebec and England, as well as industry experts in genetics and epidemiology for the $5.8 million EpiDREAM genetics study. It is planned that 22,000 DNA samples will be analyzed from participants in 21 countries to find the genetic source for adult-onset, Type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Sonia Anand, McMaster professor and co-principal investigator said: "The EpiDREAM genetics study will use cutting edge high throughput genetic analysis to determine which genes or clusters of genes predispose individuals to develop Type 2 diabetes, and if lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity "turn on or off" genes associated with its development."

The study will be completed by 2009.

"CIHR’s investment in the international EpiDREAM trial will help McMaster researchers and their colleagues advance the fight against diabetes, a growing and critical health issue in many countries," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Roderick McInnes, Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Genetics, said: "The EpiDREAM study will collect new information about the genetics surrounding type 2 diabetes. This large collaborative study shows the international leadership of Canadian researchers."

Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president of research, says, "This funding will boost an already dynamic and established research foundation. The projects are varied and will allow for further integrated health research, both here at McMaster and across the country."

McMaster investigators include: Jackie Bosch, Hertzel Gerstein, Matthew McQueen, Janice Pogue and Salim Yusuf. In Quebec, investigators include principal co-investigator Daniel Gaudet, the Canada Research Chair in preventive genetics and community genomics from the University of Montreal; Louis Pérusse of Laval University; Thomas J. Hudson of the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre. In England, Bernard Keavney and Heather Cordell of Newcastle University are adding their expertise in statistical genetics to the study.

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 115,000 in 128 countries.

CIHR is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

CIHR/Rx&D Collaborative Research Program enables scientists, clinicians and members of the full spectrum of health professions, and Rx&D members to optimize opportunities in clinical research benefiting the health of Canadians.

Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) is an association of members dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians. As partner of the health-care system, our discoveries help eliminate the need for medical procedures such as surgery, which have a significant impact on patient quality of life and health-care budgets. Our community represents over 22,000 men and women working for more than 50 member companies in Canada and is responsible for generating 100,000 jobs across Canada.

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