VTT searches for novel biomarkers and targets for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes
Research focus on dysfunction of cells and effect of change in lifestyle
VTT is participating in two new European projects focusing on type 2 diabetes. The projects aim at identifying new therapeutic choices and strategies for preventing the disease. Focus is on obtaining information on cellular dysfunction in diabetes and the effects of changes in lifestyle. The goal includes planning individual lifestyle instructions for people at high risk of diabetes and exploiting the results in a major European health insurance system.
The EU BetaBAT project aims at developing individual therapeutic choices for type 2 diabetics by identifying the connection between the genome and individual cell-level changes causing the disease. The scientists will use systems biological tools to boost the capacity of beta cells and brown adipocytes for regaining homeostatic control.
The other EU project, DEXLIFE, aims at disease prevention by identifying novel diagnostic and predictive biomarkers to detect the progression toward type 2 diabetes in individuals at high risk of the disease. Large-scale data will be acquired during the project, including information on genes and metabolites. The intervention aiming at type 2 diabetes prevention will be set up in the real-life context of a major European health insurance system.
In both projects VTT leads the work packages on integration and modelling of data. VTT has a central role in applying systems biology strategies – including metabolomics, integrative bioinformatics and biosystems modelling – to identify putative organelle-specific targets (BetaBAT) and early predictive markers of type 2 diabetes progression (DEXLIFE).
The global prevalence of diabetes has reached 285 million and is projected to rise to 435 million by 2030. Type 2 diabetes is preventable by sustained changes in diet and physical exercise. Despite this, modern societies are already approaching 10% population prevalence of diabetes, and another 15% with pre-diabetes. The costs of type 2 diabetes are huge, approaching 10% of all health costs.
The EU projects are funded by the FP7-Health-2010 Seventh Framework programme. BetaBAT and DEXLIFE are 4-year collaborative projects with partners from around Europe and United States. VTT’s total budget in the two projects is 1.91 million Euros.
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