Prof John Clapham’s diabetes lecture at the Radcliffe Centre on World Diabetes Day last Thursday was uncomplicated, insightful and shocking, writes Helena Kealey.
Diabetes affects nearly 400 million people around the world, shortening lifespans, running amok through our blood vessels and robbing us of our health, sight and, in the worst cases, limbs.
The diabetes epidemic increased dramatically in the 1990s and will, Prof Clapham prophesied, leave us with 500 million diabetics by 2030.
Thirty years spent in the pharmaceutical industry before joining the University of Buckingham means few know as well as he the high-risk industry this can be, with companies spending upwards of £1 billion on a single drug release.
Despite this, Prof Clapham, pictured, pointed out some sad diabetic truths. The most widely-used drug for tackling diabetes is metformin, first released in 1955. And the best form of treatment is undeniably a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise – something most patients will fail at.
The lecture was a shocking expose of what the body goes through during diabetes and a fascinating history in how it has been dealt with in the past.
It was also an insight into the previously inward-looking pharmaceutical world that is finally learning to take advantage of smaller science-driven groups, like that at the University of Buckingham.
In the audience was puppy socialiser Pauline Brown with trainee hypo alert dog Barton, from Medical Detection Dogs.