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Combatting Australia's fastest-growing disease

Diabetic donates $500k to the Charles Perkins Centre

A recent donation to the Charles Perkins Centre from diabetic Greg Brown will fund the establishment of the Greg Brown laboratory, with the aim of better understanding diabetes and its complications.

In 2013 there were 382 million people living with diabetes globally. This is expected to increase by 55 percent to 592 million in the next two decades, however the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre is working to tackle this. Its research into the treatment and understanding of diabetes and its complications has been given a boost, thanks to a generous gift from a patient with diabetes.

Greg Brown was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 25 years ago. For more than a decade he has been treated by Professor Stephen Twigg, who holds the Stan Clark Chair in Diabetes and is Kellion Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Sydney.

So impressed by the diabetes research being undertaken by Professor Twigg, and the approach of the Charles Perkins Centre, Mr Brown has gifted the University with half a million dollars to establish the Greg Brown Laboratory, with the aim of better understanding diabetes and its complications, to give people living with the illness hope for a healthier and longer life.

The Charles Perkins Centre spans the University’s geographic locations and brings together researchers, clinicians and students from all 16 of the University of Sydney’s faculties to find solutions to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and related conditions. Collectively, these are among the most pressing health issues ever faced by humanity.

“Diabetes is an insidious disease,” says Mr Brown. “It is the 21st Century epidemic and unless we do something it’s only going to get worse. I have seen the work in the lab first-hand, and my hopes are that this research makes life easier for those living with Type 1 and 2 diabetes and it may even help unlock a cure.”

World Diabetes Day on 14 November aims to raise awareness of Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease. According to the Australian Diabetes Council, more than one million Australians have already been diagnosed with diabetes, with another Australian diagnosed every five minutes.

Professor Twigg, who has more than 20 years clinical experience caring for people with diabetes, says, “Diabetes is characterised by abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood as a result of the body not producing enough insulin or not using insulin properly. About one in four Australian adults over the age of 25 has either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and many will develop complications due to diabetes.

“The Greg Brown Laboratory will enable us to undertake more clinically relevant research and relieve discomfort for people with diabetes. We are incredibly grateful for Mr Brown’s gift.”

The new lab will further research into diabetes and its complications by building on the University’s existing strengths, bringing together leading researchers, advanced technologies and talented international scholars in a world-class facility.

Mr Brown adds, “My grandfather used to say ‘effort equals outcome’ and I hope my effort through this gift will result in a positive outcome for people living with diabetes.”