Solving endocrine disorders without borders

The endocrine genomics virtual laboratory (endoVL) is utilising Australia's world-class research infrastructure to break new ground in the understanding and treatment of diabetes, obesity and other endocrine disorders.

Solving endocrine disorders without borders

While some of our most common chronic diseases are endocrine disorders, including diabetes, obesity and thyroid conditions, there are also a number of rare conditions, such as adrenal tumours and disorders of sex development that result from problems with the endocrine system.

Because of the rarity of many of these disorders, it is often challenging for researchers and clinicians to gather sufficient amounts of patient data to support more meaningful and statistically powerful clinical trials.

Only one in two million people will develop adrenocortical carcenoma, for example, with most clinical trails only recruiting small numbers of patients for each study — certainly not enough people to confidently compare the effectiveness of treatments.

Established and led by Professor Richard Sinnott, Director, eResearch at The University of Melbourne, the endocrine genomics virtual laboratory (endoVL), funded through the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project (Nectar) is changing the face of endocrinology.

The endoVL utilises Australia’s world-class research infrastructure comprising AARNet’s very high-speed network, massive data storage, advanced software tools, high performance computing and federated access. By providing secure online access to extensive data sets and analysis tools, the endoVL allows researchers to work together and break new ground in the understanding and treatment of endocrine disorders.

With more than 8,500 adrenal tumour cases, currently registered on endoVL, it allows researchers to draw on large enough cohorts to conduct studies with real statistical power.

 “We have more than 25 large-scale clinical trials running right now, both in diabetes and in adrenal tumours, and they involve research groups globally,” says Pofessor Sinnott. “It changes the robustness of the science and also the power of what researchers can do.” 

This case study is adapted from a story that first appeared on the Nectar website.

View the original story

What our customers are saying

“Diseases don’t know boundaries or country codes, so we have to build systems that allow researchers to collaborate across borders.”

Professor Richard Sinnott, eResearch Director, University of Melbourne

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