Dr. Sabine Kahl, scientist in the Energy Metabolism research group of the DDZ, has been awarded the Dr. Eickelberg Foundation Prize 2020. She received the prize for her research on treatment with the diabetes drug empagliflozin, which effectively reduces the liver fat content in people with recent-onset type 2 diabetes and well-controlled blood glucose levels. In her study1 Kahl showed that the drug also decreases circulating uric acid and increases adiponectin levels despite unchanged insulin sensitivity. Thus, this drug could contribute to the early treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in people with type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care.
"Thanks to the Dr. Eickelberg Foundation, we are able to support innovative approaches in diabetes research by young scientists,“ said Professor Michael Roden, scientific director and chairman of the board of the DDZ. “Considering the length of time required for projects and studies, awards are important and serve as motivation for further years of patience and perseverance.“
In addition to the Dr. Eickelberg Foundation Prize endowed with 1500 euros, a project grant was also provided by the Foundation. This went to an interdisciplinary team led by Oana-Patricia Zaharia from the Clinical Study Center (Institute of Clinical Diabetology), Dr. Yuliya Kupriyanova from the research group Metabolic Imaging (Institute of Clinical Diabetology), and Dr. Klaus Strassburger from the Institute of Biometry and Epidemiology. The team studied the distribution of adipose tissue compartments and found that these reflect the severity of the metabolic disorder in prediabetes and the subtypes of type 2 diabetes. The research group is to receive a grant amounting to 3,500 euros for this project.
The German Diabetes Center itself also awarded a project grant within the framework of the Training and Feasibility Grants (TFG) to a team of three: Dr. Bedair Dewidar (Institute of Clinical Diabetology), Professor Margriet Ouwens (Institute of Clinical Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry) and Dr. Dominik Pesta (Institute of Clinical Diabetology). The trio is investigating the mitochondrial function of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
1 Sabine Kahl, Sofiya Gancheva, Klaus Straßburger, Christian Herder, Jürgen Machann, Hisayuki Katsuyama, Stefan Kabisch, Elena Henkel, Stefan Kopf, Merit Lagerpusch, Konstantinos Kantartzis, Yuliya Kupriyanova, Daniel Markgraf, Theresa van Gemert, Birgit Knebel, Martin F. Wolkersdorfer, Oliver Kuss, Jong-Hee Hwang, Stefan R. Bornstein, Christian Kasperk, Norbert Stefan, Andreas Pfeiffer, Andreas L. Birkenfeld, Michael Roden, Empagliflozin Effectively Lowers Liver Fat Content in Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Phase 4, Placebo-Controlled Trial, Diabetes Care 2019 Sep; dc190641.