Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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The Madras Diabetes research Foundation (MDRF), established in 1996, strives to carry out the kind of basic and clinical research required to improve treatment and diagnosis of diabetes, while also providing a world class environment for translating research findings into community action. Within a few months of its inception, MDRF was recognised by the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai for conducting Phd courses in the field of Diabetology. In 2006, the ICMR designated MDRF as the ICMR Advanced Centre for Genomics of Diabetes.

The Department of Epidemiology within MDRF was also set up in 1996 to undertake evidence generation activities that help define the determinants and methods of control of diabetes, thereby laying the foundation for population based management of the disease. MDRF’s first epidemiologic study was the Chennai Urban Population Study (CUPS), a cross-sectional survey on 1262 individuals from two distinct socio-economic groups (middle, and low income). The study calculated the prevalence of diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), other features of metabolic syndrome, and the difference in risk factor profiles within these two communities. This population was followed-up longitudinally for 10 years.

The Department of Epidemiology’s activities have expanded greatly since. The ICMR – INDIAB study, MDRF’s largest epidemiologic survey to date, aims to measure diabetes prevalence at the national level through a 3 phase state-wise survey with a study population of approximately 172 000. One of the great strengths of MDRF is its network of several diabetes centres, through which it has access to over 270 000 diabetic patient records.

MDRF is also equipped with advanced lab facilities in the departments of Biochemistry, Hematology, Pathology and Microbiology. MDRF has its own biobanking facility with thousands of stored blood, serum, genetic and urine samples.

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