Professor Kamlesh Khunti is set to investigate the potential link between people with type 2 diabetes, foot ulcers and heart disease.
The Director of the ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, has been given £2.2m to launch the major study.
The aim of the research is to look into possible links among those with type 2 diabetes and foot ulcers who then go on to experience either a heart attack or a stroke.
The researchers will develop and trial a new healthcare package called MiFoot, to test its effectiveness in preventing heart disease and early death in people with type 2 diabetes who have had a foot ulcer.
The package will include one-to-one group and online sessions with healthcare professionals. Participants will also receive advice on seated exercise, medicine management and mental wellbeing.
The research team will also explore whether factors such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geographical location, might put people at higher risk.
The £2.2 million study is being funded by Diabetes UK and the NIHR.
Professor Khunti, who is also co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “We are delighted that this programme grant has been awarded which will allow us to investigate the link of heart disease among those who have type 2 diabetes and foot ulcers.
“We will be able to investigate not only the epidemiology but also develop and test an intervention to reduce the risks of these poor outcomes in a multi-ethnic population with type 2 diabetes and foot ulcers.”
To date there has been little research into how to prevent heart disease and early death in people with diabetes who have had a foot ulcer.
Foot ulcers affect more than 50,000 people with type 2 diabetes in the UK, and these people are at higher risk of complications such as heart attacks and strokes, as well as premature death, compared to those who have never had a foot ulcer.
The Diabetes Research Steering Groups identifies that the project fills a research gap. The group often pinpoints key areas where more research is needed to help improve the lives of people with diabetes.
Professor Elaine Hay, Programme Director of NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research said: "We're pleased to be co-funding this new research with Diabetes UK, with their community of patients and carers providing valuable insight into what matters most to people with type 2 diabetes.
“Collaborations such as this between NIHR and Diabetes UK bring together diverse expertise and join up the health and care research ecosystem, helping us to fund research that provides the maximum benefit for patients and the public."
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, which is co-funding the project, said: “We’re thrilled to have partnered with NIHR to make a significant investment that will help prevent heart attacks and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes who are at high risk, who have had a foot ulcer.
“Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, but with the right treatment and support it’s possible to live well with the condition. People with diabetes, healthcare professionals and researchers have told us we need to do more to prevent diabetes complications in those at highest risk, and this research is a promising step towards helping more people with type 2 diabetes live longer and healthier lives.”
For more information about diabetes, visit diabetes.org.uk.
Published on: 12 May 2021