Over a year ago, the United States Congress gave the Diabetes Research Working Group (DRWG) this task: tell us what we need to do, and what we need to spend, to cure diabetes. On February 25, the group answered the question, recommending a strategic plan for the next five years of diabetes research.
The DRWG, comprised of leading researchers throughout America, asked Congress for $827 million for NIH diabetes research in its report called, “Conquering Diabetes: A Strategic Plan for the 21st Century.” After the initial $827 million, the group calls for increases every year, ending with annual spending of $1.6 billion in 2004.
The current NIH budget for diabetes is $442 million, so if Congress votes in the full $827 million, this will be a major increase. The DRWG suggests the money should be divided into three major areas:
Number One: “Extraordinary Opportunities”
These opportunities are research into genetics, autoimmunity, cell signaling and obesity.
Number Two: “Special Needs for Special Problems”
The DRWG sees these as special problems deserving attention: diabetes complications, strategies for improving blood sugar control, the environmental link to diabetes onset and diabetes in special populations, like children, women, the elderly and minority groups.
Number Three: “Resource and Infrastructural Needs”
The DRWG recommends the resources necessary to promote the sharing of information from studies of “extraordinary opportunities” and “special problems.” It calls for several new groups, or task forces, comprised of government, academic and commercial research centers.
Where will the money go? These five areas should be the most heavily funded, says the DRWG:
Recommended Spending Increase for Year 2000
clinical research and trials
genetics of diabetes
cell signaling and regulation
autoimmunity and beta cell