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Labor pledges $50m for diabetes research

Labor will fork out $50 million to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes if it wins the next federal election.

The money will allow the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Clinical Research Network to boost the number of clinical trials, translate research into new treatments and help find a cure.

“It will allow Australian patients with type 1 to access clinical trials. It will allow for ground-breaking research conducted in the lab to be translated in a beneficial affordable treatment in the future,” JDRF head of research Dorota Pawlak told families in Melbourne on Sunday.

Funding for the network is due to expire in June, a month after the election is due by, but Labor’s plan extends money to JDRF’s research arm until 2024.

“Australian scientists and researchers punch above their weight. We do better at medical research when they get the help they need,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said.

“If Labor wins the next election, we will invest $50 million to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes.”

More than 120,000 Australians have type 1 diabetes which can be deadly or prompt complications including kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, stroke and blindness.

JDRF’s acting chief executive Angela McKay said the organisation was excited about what comes next but impatient about how fast it can be done.

“We want a world without type 1. We won’t stop until we get there and we know research holds that key,” Ms McKay said.

Labor health spokeswoman Catherine King hoped the funding would “turn type 1 diabetes to type none” by maintaining and increasing research efforts to find a cure.

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