Diabetes mellitus is the fastest growing disease worldwide with an estimated 325 million patients in 2025. Affected patients can develop vascular complications in the eye, kidney, nervous system and heart. This imposes an immense burden on the health care system accounting for approx. 15% of the annual costs.
This initiative challenges the subdivison of diabetes into autoimmune type 1 and dysmetabolic type 2 diabetes. Instead the idea is pursued that interactions between inflammatory and metabolic biological pathways underlie the development of all types of diabetes and its complications. The resulting spectrum if diabetes is very heterogeneous. This complexity is far from fully elucidated. It arises from a number of only partially identified genes conferring susceptibility to diabetes, in combination with envionmental risk factors.
We will test the hypothesis that different mechansims, controlled by sets of yet to be discovered genetic and environmental factors, lead to the chronic hyperglycemia that represents a hallmark of diabetes. These include autoimmune and inflammatory reactions as well as metabolic disturbances resulting in impaired insulin disease and characterize subgroups with unique features. The ultimate goal is to use this information to develop novel strategies for treatment, prevention and cure of diabetes.
Last updated: June 27, 2008
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