Saturday, 23 May 2015

[Straits Times] Efforts made towards cure for diabetes

AS A practising kidney specialist and chairman of the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF), I have observed at first hand, over the course of several years, the rapid increase in patients requiring kidney dialysis, and the high incidence of diabetes among them.
This trend was reported in "A new dialysis patient every 5 hours" (May 10).
Uncontrolled diabetes can cause multiple complications, of which end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis is one of them.
At the KDF, in 2013, this was the principal cause of ESRD, affecting 36.6 per cent of our haemodialysis patients.
In the same year, diabetes was also the main cause of ESRD in 62.1 per cent of the new haemodialysis patients accepted into the KDF.
To put a halt to this worrying trend, diabetes must be targeted, by developing more innovative and possibly curative treatment.
The KDF's board has been strongly supportive of research work in this area.
In 2007, we signed a grant agreement with the National University of Singapore (NUS) in which the KDF pledged to sponsor and provide annual funding on a gene therapy, as a cure for diabetes.
The research team at NUS is part of a multinational effort.
Over the years, significant progress has been achieved.
The next phase is treating dogs with natural diabetes, before moving on to humans.
If successful, this will be of great significance to medical science and humanity, as it would lower the incidence of ESRD due to diabetes, and reduce the number of new patients going on dialysis.
The battle against diabetes and ESRD is a long and arduous journey.
At the KDF, we strive to educate the public in symposiums, community talks, and through our online materials.
We look forward to the fruition of gene therapy research at NUS.
Gordon Ku (Dr)
Kidney Dialysis Foundation