[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 25-Apr-2012
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Contact: Paula Fentiman
44-020-792-72802
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases launched to tackle killer diseases

The Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases, a unique initiative that brings together researchers, policy makers, funders and patient advocacy groups worldwide to focus research and expertise on this growing global health challenge, is launched today (25 April) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease have long been major causes of mortality and morbidity in high income countries, and are now reaching epidemic levels in the developing world. According to UN estimates, an estimated 36 million people died from NCDs in 2008, over 60 per cent of the 57 million global deaths that year; by 2030, they are expected to claim more than 50 million lives annually.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "The emerging epidemic of non-communicable diseases has potentially catastrophic consequences for global health. However, with co-ordinated intervention, we can successfully prevent and treat these diseases, saving millions of lives worldwide. This is a vital strategic priority, and we are working with our partners to establish this new Centre as a focus for research that can translate into effective action."

The Centre, which comprises more than 50 researchers, is formally launched at a conference today entitled Global Non-Communicable Disease: from research to action. Speakers include representatives of The Lancet NCD Action Group, NCD Alliance, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, International Epidemiological Association and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Johanna Ralston, NCD Alliance Steering Group member and Chief Executive Officer of the World Heart Federation, said: "The UN Summit 2011 put the growing threat of NCDs firmly on the agenda, and now we are beginning to see co-ordinated action. The London School is to be applauded for creating this critically needed global health research centre. By fostering collaborations and working with partners worldwide, the new Centre will bring multicultural and multidisciplinary perspectives to bear on meeting this complex challenge."

The Centre for Global NCDs brings together the work of more than 50 researchers and experts across a range of disciplines, conducting NCD research in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific, as well as in the UK and other high income countries.

Professor Neil Pearce, Director of the new Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "We have much of the knowledge and technology we need to fight this epidemic, and we can do this in ways that are complementary to global health efforts already under way.

"Our Centre will support policy makers and researchers in low and middle income countries to work in collaboration with those in high income countries. We can achieve much more by working together, both to take action on the problems for which solutions already exist, and to research the problems for which the solutions are not yet clear."

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To arrange interviews or if you would like to attend, please contact the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine press office on +44 (0)20 7927 2802 or email paula.fentiman@lshtm.ac.uk or katie.steels@lshtm.ac.uk

For interview requests for Johanna Ralston please contact Rianne Buter on +44 (0)20 7067 0016 or email rbuter@webershandwick.com

Notes to Editors:

About the Centre for Global NCDs - http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/centres/global_ncd/

Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have long been the major causes of mortality and morbidity in high income countries, and are now also reaching epidemic levels in low and middle income countries. It is important to address NCDs with a global interdisciplinary approach as they share common causes, and common approaches to their control.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Centre for Global NCDs draws on the wide range of expertise that currently exists within LSHTM, and aims to strengthen and promote research, training and international networking in NCD research and health policy.

The Centre is organized around three main themes

1) Impacts of globalisation on NCD risk factor profiles:. Covering policy analysis and case studies. Linking geographic and secular trends in risk factor distributions with the underlying political, social, trade, agriculture, migration, and economic pressures to understand how globalisation is both benefiting and harming health with regards to NCDs.

2) Pathways to NCDs: Ranging from the genetic, epigenetic and -omics of NCDs through to social determinants and individual risk prediction. Specific sub-themes include population ageing and NCDs, and infection and NCDs.

3) Improving public health and health care for NCDs: Including evaluation of public health and health care interventions, health systems, access to health care, health workforce, and implementation research. The primary care agenda and unifying services for infectious and NCDs are major subthemes here.

The Centre fosters collaboration and communication between NCD researchers, across a range of settings and disciplines, both within and outside of the School. There is a strong emphasis on fostering links between researchers and policy makers, between different disciplines, and between high income and low-and-middle-income countries. In addition, the Centre functions as an international training centre for global NCD research through the provision of training courses and PhD programs; members of the Centre play a key role in highlighting the importance of NCDs on the global policy agenda.

To register your interest to become a member or external partner of the Centre or for more details of our work see: - http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/centres/global_ncd/



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