Posted 24 May 2022

Type 1 diabetes is just one of many diseases that turn Australian lives upside down every day.

Scientists at SVI are applying ‘big data’ analysis and artificial intelligence to drive quantum leaps in our knowledge of disease, including type 1 diabetes.

The era of ‘big data’ presents huge opportunities for scientific discovery and progress, with the prospect for enormous health gains.

Scientists in SVI’s Bioinformatics & Cellular Genomics Lab, led by Dr Davis McCarthy, use computational methods and software tools to make meaning from complex patterns in biological data.

Davis and his team are using this expertise to accelerate new treatments for type 1 diabetes.

They are analysing data from blood samples taken from people like 13-year-old Finn, who have agreed to participate in a world-first trial of a new drug for treating type 1 diabetes.

“If this kind of research can lead to more accurate diagnosis and better treatments, then I think that’s something really worth supporting,” says Finn’s mum, Kirsten.

Our ambitious aim is to build a detailed molecular map of the progression of type 1 diabetes in newly diagnosed individuals and to track the effect of the drug treatment.

Living with type 1 diabetes is not something that Kirsten – mum to two teenagers with the condition – ever envisaged.

“It was a real shock,” she says. “It’s not in our family otherwise, so we wonder: what has caused this?”

“People don’t realise that type 1 diabetes is exhausting. It’s relentless. It doesn’t go on holidays – in fact, on holidays things can be even harder, because you’re out of your usual routine. You are constantly counting foods, checking for signs, monitoring your child’s blood sugar – day and night.”

Living with the constant grind of type 1 diabetes or other ongoing diseases every single day is exhausting and highly stressful.

With your help, we can harness the power of big data to deliver long-term benefit and transform lives.

Will you donate before 30 June?

Building SVI’s team of cutting-edge data experts means considerable investment – we are only able to deliver this with help from you, our donors.

For example, a gift from you today can help us provide the team with digital tools, such as servers, high-capacity storage and networking resources.

An incredibly generous donation will help us recruit skilled young scientists with deep expertise in statistics, machine learning, genetics, and software engineering.

It will also help Davis and the team progress many projects, including one supported by the Medical Research Future Fund which aims to use artificial intelligence to better diagnose breast cancer and improve outcomes.

“I tell my children that everything they have access to today in medicine exists because of research,” Kirsten says.

“I believe type 1 diabetes will be cured in my children’s lifetimes…. We just need to keep them well until science finds a way.”

With your support, we are closing the distance between discovery and application, between the laboratory bench and the patient’s bedside, and creating a healthier future for all Australians.