A £2.1m type 2 diabetes and heart disease research project is announced
A £2.1 million research project that will investigate how to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with type 2 diabetes has been announced.
Diabetes UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have teamed up to develop and trial a new healthcare package that could benefit tens of thousands of people with type 2 diabetes across the UK.
Foot ulcers affect over 50,000 people with type 2 diabetes in the UK, and these people are at higher risk of complications such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as premature death, compared to those who have never had a foot ulcer.
To date there has been little research into how to prevent heart disease and early death in people with diabetes who have had a foot ulcer.
Foot ulcer history
With new funding from Diabetes UK and NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research project, the team of researchers led by Professor Kamlesh Khunti at the University of Leicester will investigate how many people with a history of foot ulcers go on to experience heart disease or stroke.
The team will also explore whether factors such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geographical location, might put people at higher risk.
The researchers will develop and trial a new healthcare package called MiFoot, to test its effectiveness in preventing heart disease and early death in people with type 2 diabetes who have had a foot ulcer. The package will likely include one-to-one, group and online sessions with healthcare professionals, and support for seated exercise, medicine management and mental wellbeing.
The project fills a research gap identified by the Diabetes Research Steering Groups, an initiative bringing together people with diabetes, healthcare professionals and researchers, who identify key areas where more research is needed to help improve the lives of people with diabetes.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted that this Programme grant has been awarded as the risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death are substantial in people with type 2 diabetes and foot ulcers. We will be able to investigate not only the epidemiology but also develop and test an intervention to reduce the risks of these poor outcomes in a multi-ethnic population with type 2 diabetes and foot ulcers.”
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, which is co-funding the project, said: “We’re thrilled to have partnered with NIHR to make a significant investment that will help prevent heart attacks and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes who are at high risk, who have had a foot ulcer.
“Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, but with the right treatment and support it’s possible to live well with the condition. People with diabetes, healthcare professionals and researchers have told us we need to do more to prevent diabetes complications in those at highest risk, and this research is a promising step towards helping more people with type 2 diabetes live longer and healthier lives.”
Professor Elaine Hay, Programme Director of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research said: “We’re pleased to be co-funding this new research with Diabetes UK, with their community of patients and carers providing valuable insight into what matters most to people with type 2 diabetes. Collaborations such as this between NIHR and Diabetes UK bring together diverse expertise and join up the health and care research ecosystem, helping us to fund research that provides the maximum benefit for patients and the public.”