A report is claiming that patients with type I diabetes living in the UK are being denied the opportunity to take part in clinical research.
A survey by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - of more than 800 type I diabetics in the country - has revealed that a massive 77% have never been offered the chance to participate in a study of the condition.
Seventy-two per cent of those with the disease reported never having been told about medical research by their clinical team.
The findings are particularly pertinent given that 96% of those denied this opportunity said they would be potentially willing to take part in such a clinical trial, according to the charity.
The chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, recently unveiled that 15%-20% of cancer patients are now taking part in clinical research, but, by contrast, the JDRF estimates that less than 3% of those living with type 1 diabetes are involved in a trial.
Type I diabetes already affects around 400,000 people in the UK and its incidence is on the rise, particularly in the under-fives, a group seeing annual growth of 5%, "making the need to support research into the condition more urgent than ever," the charity stressed.
Tomorrow the JDRF will release findings of its Type I Diabetes Research Roadmap project, and investigation into why the cure for the condition "remains elusive".
The report highlights that “despite concerted efforts to increase both the quality and quantity of clinical trials… many people with type 1 are still not being routinely offered trials in which to participate."
"Arduous" research process
But it also notes that "the regulatory steps that must be undertaken to get a clinical trial up and running in the UK are perceived to be some of the most arduous in the world," which, it says "reduces the attractiveness of UK research centres and hospitals as settings for clinical trials".
According to JDRF chief executive Karen Addington the lack of clinical trial opportunities for those living with the condition is "a huge obstacle" to finding a cure, and she called on the government to "work with researchers, funders and patient groups to implement the recommendations that will allow the NHS to meet the ambition of putting research and innovation at its heart".