Curtin University researchers get $80,000 grant for research into type 2 diabetes

Professor Fergal O'Gara.
Professor Fergal O'Gara.

A TEAM of Curtin University researchers has secured an $80,000 grant to further explore a discovery that could reduce cases of type 2 diabetes.

Led by South Perth resident Professor Fergal O’Gara, the researchers found in a recent mouse study that statins, a class of drugs that lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood, drive changes in the body’s gut bacteria, which can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes.

Professor O’Gara said he was very excited about the work because he believed that a full appreciation of the role of the gut microbiome had not yet been adequately factored into the complex puzzle with regards to type 2 diabetes research.

“The beneficial gut bacterial population is collectively referred to as the ‘microbiome’ and its importance to our health status has only recently come to prominence in the medical world,” he said.

“Our microbiome is now being referred to as the equivalent of a new organ in the body that also needs to be managed and protected.

“Our work has demonstrated for the first time profound changes in the microbial composition of the gut following statin treatment and in our study mice experienced higher fasting blood glucose levels and weight gain.”

The first phase of the team’s research was published in BMC Microbiome.

Professor O’Gara said his team were recruiting people with pre-diabetes for a trial as part of the research.

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