Heartened by the results of its first national conference in late April, the Diabetes Cero (Dt0) association is now trying to raise funds to continue research projects discussed at the event. The 400 health professionals from all over Spain who went to Écija, Seville, for the conference agreed on the need to finance six pieces of research to tackle type 1 diabetes, the one that affects children.
The association, currently preparing to become a foundation, is made up of 14 delegations in different Spanish provinces. The branch in Malaga is the largest and most important in terms of members and fundraising ability: 40 per cent of the money given to the research groups so far has been collected at charity events in the province.
That is why the coordinator of Diabetes Cero Malaga, Manuel Castro, who lives in Marbella, is now calling for support so that research currently being carried out by top scientists and pioneering centres can continue.
The next fundraising event will be a concert to pay tribute to legendary rock bands (AC/DC, Queen and The Police), which will take place on Saturday 22 July in the Plaza de la Nogalera in Torremolinos, from 6pm onwards.
Manuel said the conference in Écija was a landmark for the association because it was the first time patients and health professionals had joined forces to raise funds for research.
During the conference, Spanish specialists explained the six studies being carried out in prestigious research centres which are part of hospitals around the country. One is at CABIMER, the Andalusian Centre of Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine, where former Health minister Bernat Soria leads the project. Others are in Madrid, the Basque Country and Catalonia.
At the conference, the six research projects were given 105,000 euros in tota Three received 25,000 euros each, from money which has been raised at charity events by the association since it was set up in 2014, while the other three received 10,000 euros, thanks to the support of the SED Foundation of the Spanish Diabetes Society.
The clinical tests being funded by the association all aim to put an end to child diabetes, but from different angles. For example, one project is trying to reprogramme the patients’ own skin cells to make new cells which are beta producers of insulin, and another is working on regulating the immune system so that it automatically regulates the beta cells which are destroyed when the auto-immune attack begins. The association’s future support for research projects will be determined by an advisory committee and based on the results of the research to be presented at next year’s conference.
“Since our first conference we at Diabetes Cero are even more determined, because people are now more aware that research needs our help.
“We are now focusing on raising as much money as we can to continue supporting these projects, and we will hold another conference next year,” said Manuel Castro.