Already back in the 1950s, the number of people with diabetes began to rise significantly. To counter this development, the Society to Promote the Study of Diabetes was founded in Düsseldorf upon the initiative of Prof. Karl Oberdisse, the founding president of the German Diabetes Society, and in 1965 the Diabetes Research Institute was established.
On April 14, 2015 the research institute celebrated its 50th anniversary as German Diabetes Center (DDZ), Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
The DDZ is an interdisciplinary institution which links molecular and cell biological basic research with clinical and epidemiological research approaches. The task of the DDZ is to develop new approaches for prevention, early detection and diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. “On the basis of a longstanding tradition, the DZD in recent years has set new priorities in clinical research to elucidate the risk for type 2 diabetes and for its pathogenesis,” said Professor Michael Roden, scientific director and chairman of the DDZ.
“In Germany today an estimated one in 12 individuals has diabetes. The number of diabetes cases diagnosed by a physician has increased significantly in recent years. Diabetes is one of the most common diseases. Prevention and early detection are key pillars in our efforts to combat diabetes. That is why with the Prevention Act, which shall become effective this summer, we are focusing on the prevention of diseases such as diabetes. For a half century, the German Diabetes Center has been making a valuable contribution to developing prevention services and care of diabetes patients and thus to improve the situation of those affected,” said Hermann Gröhe, Federal Minister of Health, in his welcome address at the 50th anniversary celebration.
“For fifty years the DDZ has been conducting research of excellent quality and high social relevance on the widespread disease of diabetes. The outstanding close linkage of basic research and clinical applications is what makes the DDZ unique in all of Germany as a research institution,” said State Secretary Dr. Thomas Grünewald.
As representative of the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeffer, Vice-Rector for Strategic Management and Equal Opportunity, described the close connection between the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and the DDZ. Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Joost, former scientific director of the German Institute for Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, stressed the importance of the DDZ for the Leibniz Association as a reference center for the disease diabetes.
Dr. Viktor Jörgens, former managing director of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) gave a lecture on the excellent achievements of German metabolism research. The current president of the EASD, Andrew J.M. Boulton, MD, DSc (Hon), FACP, FRCP, drew parallels in his presentation to the 50 years of existence of the EASD.