Diabetes research boost from Dr Hadwen Trust

06 August 2014

Dr Catherine Wright

Dr Catherine Wright

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Catherine Wright has been awarded a prestigious research grant by the Dr Hadwen Trust to improve access to human skin tissue for diabetes research.

Dr Wright is a Lecturer within the Department of Life Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and a researcher in the Institute for Applied Health Research’s Diabetes and Biomedical Sciences research group. The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity.

The DHT grant of £135,078 will fund a three-year research programme that will allow GCU’s Skin Tissue Bank to continue providing human skin tissue and cells that can be used for multiple studies related to diabetes research. The team, which includes GCU’s Professor Ann Graham, will be able to support studies including those looking at wound healing in diabetes, as well as developing human stem cells. This will help to replace the need for animal experimentation.

In traditional diabetes research, strains of genetically modified mice and rats are bred specifically for diabetes research. Over 92,000 animals are used in human diabetes research per year worldwide. Using human tissue has many advantages over using tissue from animals – it gives much better, human-relevant information about how drugs could be developed in the future. The GCU team has NHS Research Ethics Committee approval to provide human skin tissue for research.

Dr Wright said: “We are so grateful to the Dr Hadwen Trust. Their funding will allow us to employ a full-time member of staff to assist the academics to run the tissue bank and develop new types of human cell models that can replace animal experiments. We hope that this research makes a major contribution in the fight against diabetes.”

Dr Brett Cochrane, Group Head of Science at the DHT, added: “We are delighted for Dr Wright and her team. It is an absolute joy when we can fund a project as full of merit and promise as the diabetes research at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Skin Tissue Bank. The potential breadth of work that will be made possible by this research will truly help to replace the huge number of animal experiments that take place in diabetes research whilst being beneficial to diabetes patients everywhere.”

Over the last 5 years alone the DHT has funded over £2.25 million worth of animal replacement research projects across the UK at student, PhD and post-doctoral level. To date, the Dr Hadwen Trust continues to be the UK’s leading charity provider of grants solely dedicated to animal replacement medical research.