DIABETES FACT SHEET The Institute for Molecular Bioscience IMB by kerrib



The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) undertakes globally competitive research
to decipher the information contained in the genes and proteins of plants, animals and

The IMB's exploration of the genetic basis of life will greatly impact on the health and
quality of life of humans.

The IMB and Diabetes

Presently there is no cure for either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.

IMB researchers are investigating advancing basic knowledge about how the hormone,
insulin, is made in the pancreas and released into the bloodstream.

This work, supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International,
involves elucidating the basic cell biology and physiology of the pancreatic beta cell,
which is the sole source of insulin. In humans, death of the beta cells, or their failure to
manufacture and release adequate amounts of insulin, results in the diseases known as
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, respectively.

Meanwhile other groups are investigating the molecular pathways responsible for
maintaining cholesterol levels in the blood. This work is assisting in the development of
drug candidates to ameliorate some of the effects of the western sedentary lifestyle,
particularly obesity and high cholesterol, which are just two of the many environmental
factors contributing to Type 2 Diabetes.

Researchers interested in Diabetes benefit greatly from the advanced electron
microscopy facilities available to IMB researchers through the NANO Major National
Research Facility.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body lacks the ability to regulate the amount of
glucose in the blood stream. Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are similar in that patients
cannot regulate their glucose level, but the cause is different.

Glucose is an essential energy source for the body, in fact the brain can only metabolise
glucose. However ensuring that the appropriate amount of glucose is in the blood at all
times is an extremely delicate process.

To maintain this happy balance the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which is
critical in the storage of glucose in the liver, and ensuring the body’s cells have the
energy to carry out their daily tasks.
If the pancreas cannot manufacture insulin, or if it does not manufacture enough insulin,
glucose blood levels remain elevated leading to the health problems associated with

In Type 1, previously juvenile Diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys
certain cells in the pancreas critical to the production of insulin. It rrepresents 10 to 15%
of all cases of Diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in
developed nations. Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by lifestyle factors.

In contrast Type 2, or late onset Diabetes, is characterised by a lessening in the
pancreas’ ability to produce enough insulin that works properly to regulate glucose
concentrations in the blood. Type 2 Diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent
Diabetes, represents the majority of Diabetes cases (85 to 90%). _ A genetic
predisposition and lifestyle factors such as Diabetes contribute to the development of
the disease.

How common is Diabetes?

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease with 1,048 people diagnosed
every week, that is 150 people every day.

Some of the health effects of Diabetes include:
• 65%-80% of people with Diabetes will die of coronary heart disease
• 15% of people with Diabetes have heart disease compared to 2.5% without Diabetes
• Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure
• Renal disease accounts for 8% - 14% of deaths in people with Diabetes
• 5% of people with Diabetes will experience foot ulcers
• Of the 3000 amputations in people with Diabetes, most are preventable
• Visual problems are common in people with Diabetes
• Diabetes is the most common cause of blindness for people under 60
• Aboriginal Australians have the fourth highest rate of Type 2 Diabetes in the world

Finally Diabetes is the seventh highest cause of death in Australia

For more information please visit:

Diabetes Australia:                              http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
Diabetes Australia, Queensland                   http://www.daq.org.au/
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation            http://www.jdf.org/

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