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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 00:11 GMT 01:11 UK
World stage for diabetes research
A laboratory technician picks up a test tube with a blood sample
The network will encourage more collaborative work
Diabetes researchers are to increase co-operation in an effort to make Scotland a world leader in prevention and treatment of the condition.

The Scottish Diabetes Research Network has been launched to increase joint working as well as the number of patients taking part in trials.

The "hub" for the network has been set up at Ninewells hospital in Dundee.

The SDRN will also provide support for health centres and local hospitals taking part in research.

Diabetes has reached epidemic levels, with more than 170,000 people in Scotland known to have diabetes. There have been concerns many more may be unaware they have the condition.

Scotland has already contributed to the development of modern diabetes treatments.

'Significant step'

The Scot JJR McLeod played a key role in the discovery of insulin in the 1920s and more recently the first insulin "pen" device was developed by John Ireland and David Wyper in Glasgow.

It is hoped the new network will allow the country to have an even greater role on the world stage.

Dr John Petrie, reader in diabetic medicine at the University of Dundee, has been appointed to lead the initiative.

He said: "We have already made excellent strides in Scotland in putting in place strong systems for research into prevention and treatment of diabetes.

"The establishment of the Scottish Diabetes Research Network is another significant step forward.

"This will help us engage even more widely with the general health community and the public, which will lead to real benefits in how we understand and treat diabetes."

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