DYNAMO fights against diabetic kidney disease

July 6, 2017

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, vision difficulty, kidney disease and nerve damage. Singapore’s Ministry of Health conducted a “War on Diabetes” campaign in April 2016, in order to fight the diabetes epidemic.

The Diabetes study in Nephropathy And other Microvascular complications, also known as DYNAMO,has been awarded nearly S$25 million from the Open Fund – Large Collaborative Grant (OF-LCG), to help reduce diabetic kidney disease (DKD) in Singapore by 30% within the next five years.

DYNAMO is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore and administered by the Ministry of Health, Singapore (MOH)’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC). They will include investigators from all three medical schools in Singapore, as well as local public health institutions, such as Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).

DYNAMO aims to determine the genes and processes involved in the development of DKD, so that diabetic patients at risk can be identified and treated earlier. Using multiple experimental approaches, the goal of the research study is to identify and validate new potential treatments for kidney complications from diabetes.

With diabetes commonly affecting both the kidneys and eyes, DYNAMO plans to investigate similarities in these organs to understand their basic causes. As the eye can be easily and non-intrusively monitored, the team will look to the eye for clues on how to predict kidney complications in diabetics, and to reveal causes of DKD.

Diabetes is critical health concern in Singapore, with the number of Singaporeans with diabetes projected to reach a million by 2050. Research and innovation are key enablers in the War on Diabetes, through improving our understanding of the disease and its complications, and laying the foundation for the development of more effective methods for diabetes prevention and management.

“There is an epidemic of diabetes worldwide, and Singapore has not been spared. This rise in diabetes has been accompanied by an increase in diabetic complications including kidney disease, posing a substantial burden to public health. Today, diabetic kidney disease is the leading cause of kidney failure in Singapore. DYNAMO investigators will be working together to find new solutions for its prevention and treatment,” stressed Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS Medical School and the lead principal investigator (PI) of DYNAMO.

“Even after two decades, while we have made improvements, we are no closer to effectively treating these kidney complications. With the burden especially high in Singapore, there is an urgent need for better diagnostics and therapeutics for diabetic kidney disease. The studies of DYNAMO are designed to plug this clinical gap and provide much-needed answers in this field,” added Professor Tai E Shyong, a theme PI of DYNAMO and Senior Consultant, Division of Endocrinology at National University Hospital, which is a member of the National University Health System.

DYNAMO will utilize state of the art systems to work toward reducing the impact of diabetes on the kidney, with the goal of producing new therapies and tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing DKD. It is with hope that DYNAMO will bring these improvements directly to patients in Singapore.

In this regard, the discovery science in DYNAMO will complement work done by clinicians who are in the process of implementing the Holistic Approach to Lowering and Tracking Chronic Kidney Disease (HALT-CKD), a new programme in polyclinics that seeks to prevent the development of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in patients with early stage CKD, and to slow down the progression to ESRD in those with late-stage CKD.

“Such large collaborative grants will provide the platform to bring diverse range of expertise together thereby catalysing translational research, that is making scientific discovery to inform clinical practice. Therefore, we hope that DYNAMO will not only strengthen diabetes research, but will also have profound impact on the research landscape here in Singapore for years to come,” added Associate Professor Lim Su Chi, Director of the Clinical Research Unit at KTPH, and DYNAMO theme PI.

DYNAMO hopes to advance extensive collaborations in the local research community, including Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore General Hospital and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, as well as with leading universities such as Duke University in the US, Imperial College of London in the UK, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and University of Sydney in Australia.


Category: Education, Features

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