(The Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism)

The Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM) is a partnership between Novo Nordisk, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the University of Oxford.

Combining research, patient care & training

It is one of the largest diabetes centres in Europe, combining basic and clinical research with patient care and medical training all under one roof. By promoting world-class research, it aims to enhance understanding of diabetes, endocrine and metabolic diseases, and accelerate the search for new treatments and cures.

In the words of Novo Nordisk's president and CEO, Lars Rebien Sørensen, "You stand a much better chance of a breakthrough if you put basic and clinical research together with clinical care, teaching and patient outreach. With all these elements under one roof, you accelerate the sharing of experience and knowledge."

Synergies to speed the fight against diabetes

In addition to offering patients first-class, integrated clinical service, the centre aims to create synergies and opportunities for cross-fertilisation of ideas, thereby encouraging academic, NHS and commercial initiatives.

"Our vision," says Lars Rebien Sørensen, "is to defeat diabetes, but we cannot do it alone. So we must break down the false barriers between industry, government and academia and learn to work together, when the stakes are this high."

In 2005, researchers at OCDEM and the Imperial College London will lead on a 20 million British pounds initiative from the Department of Health to set up a UK Diabetes Research Network to coordinate diabetes research in the UK.

An 'amazing' and inviting place

The centre is part of the busy teaching programme of the Medical School of the University of Oxford. It is housed in a state-of-the-art building with a large, bright atrium that extends for three storeys and is crowned by a bubble-like transparent roof. Here, patients can comfortably wait for their appointments. From the laboratories, which face onto the atrium, scientists and technicians can look up from their centrifuges and pipettes and see people waiting for treatment.

In the words of diabetes patient Anne Harrison, "It is an amazing place. It doesn't feel like a hospital or a clinic. There is so much light, all the services are in one place, you can actually see the scientists working at their lab benches … and everyone is smiling."

The centre employs 70 scientists and associated staff who take care of more than 15,000 outpatients.