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Diabetes

It is often that the true magnitude of Australia’s third biggest killer, Diabetes, was not being realised by a generation that has had to deal with the high profile of AIDS, heart disease and cancer.

In 1984/85, Apex Australia conducted a National Service Scheme, to raise funds to contribute towards diabetes research and education. Those funds were managed by the Apex Foundation under Diabetes Mellitus Trust till 2011 and now under Apex Foundation Charitable Trust. The annual investment returns are pooled with funds raised by Diabetes Australia and medical companies involved in the treatment of diabetes.

This has become Australia’s largest non-government funder of diabetes research and education. Grants are made to non-profit bodies. Their submissions are assessed by the panel of diabetes professionals who comprise Diabetes Australia’s Research Development Committee.

In recent years, diabetes research and education in Australia has been at the forefront of international progress, resulting in the halving of complications usually associated with the disease. The Apex Foundation continues its support by providing research grants to various research projects taken up by Diabetes Australia.

Over the last few years it has made an annual grant of $15,000 to assist in research programs focused on the preservation and management of diabetes or the cure of diabetes.

In 2915 approximately $3.5 million has been allocated to around 45 research projects.

Apex Foundation, through the Charitable Trust, donated $ 15,000 to the Diabetes Australia Research Program. This grant contributed to the funding of a NSW General Grant valued at $ 60,000.

The recipient of the grant was Dr Paul Lee of the Garvan Institute who is conducting a preliminary study in pre diabetes. The project involves a study of ‘brown fat’. This is a unique organ which burns fat and glucose to release energy as heat. Brown fat protects animals from diabetes and other obesity related disorders.

High prevalence of brown fat in lean adults indicates it may also benefit metabolism in humans. This is underscored by findings of lower blood glucose levels and body fat among individuals with greater brown fat abundance. Research suggests that brown fat may stimulate bone formation.

Given the association of diabetes with osteoporosis and fracture, the pilot project is investigating whether fenofibrate therapy could recruit brown fat and stimulate bone formation in humans thereby increasing bone mineral density in patients with dysglycaemia and impaired bone health.