What's the problem?
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels properly because the pancreas does not make enough of the hormone insulin, or because other organs do not respond to insulin as they should.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes currently affects 463 million adults, and by 2045 this will rise to 700 million. Despite decades of research, there is still no cure for diabetes, and many patients still have to inject themselves with insulin to manage their condition. Furthermore, many people with diabetes experience complications such as heart, kidney and eye problems.
What is IMI doing about it?
IMI has a strong diabetes project portfolio, with several projects addressing different aspects of the disease. Some are studying the underlying causes of the disease and the internal processes that lead to the destruction of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Others aim to detect clues as to how the disease will progress in different patients. Finally, many projects focus on detecting, preventing and treating the complications associated with diabetes.
Spot it, slow it, and stop it: trials of potential diabetes drugs have been designed according to the INNODIA project's regulator-approved master protocol.
IMIDIA identified and validated a human beta cell line that behaves in the lab in the same way as the cells found in the human body. Pancreatic islet beta cells are thought to be the culprit behind the development of type 2 diabetes.
RHAPSODY identified subgroups that divide type 2 diabetes patients into those with severe autoimmune diabetes, those with severe insulin deficiency, those with severe insulin resistance, and those whose diabetes is mild and linked to obesity or age.
SUMMIT developed an ultrasound device capable of identifying patients at imminent risk of a heart attack or stroke, two common complications of diabetes.
All diabetes patients are not the same - Interview with Professor Ewan Pearson