Diabetes is a complex disease that arises from a multi-layered interplay of genes, lifestyle and environmental factors. In the DZD, experts from various disciplines such as basic research, epidemiology, health services research and clinical research are investigating the metabolic disease. Each of these groups collects important data on individual aspects of the disease – for example from cohorts, clinical studies, bio-samples, preclinical models, genotyping and phenotyping, omics analyses and from studies on epigenetic changes in the genetic code. However, the data are mostly heterogeneous, unstructured, difficult to search and stored in different locations in separate databases (data silos).That is why in order to understand the origin of the disease and to be able to develop new precise therapeutic approaches (Precision Medicine), information from different areas must be linked and evaluated.
Cross-location data and knowledge management
The DZD is therefore working on cross-location data and knowledge management. The basis for this is a graph database. It is intended to make the existing data accessible from various sources, reusable and usable across all locations. The aim is to bring together, structure and analyze research data from heterogeneous sources using innovative IT technologies such as artificial intelligence. In this way, previously hidden connections and patterns of the disease can be uncovered in the future: Why do some people get diabetes and others do not? What role do genes, nutrition, exercise and environmental factors play here? Linking different data sets can provide fundamentally new answers and help, for example, to discover new markers for prediabetes or other subtypes of diabetes.
Linking and evaluation of heterogeneous data
For the project "Graphs to Fight Diabetes" Dr. Alexander Jarasch was honored with a bytes4diabetes-Award, which is endowed with 5,000 euros. "Diabetes research can be conducted in an entirely new dimension if we succeed in linking the diverse information, which so far has mostly been stored in separate databases, and evaluate it using modern information and communication technologies," said Jarasch. “The recognition of our research work with a bytes4diabetes Award shows that with DZDconnect, we have chosen the right approach to link and make use of heterogeneous data,“ said DZD board member Professor Martin Hrabě de Angelis, commenting on the award. "However, in order to gain an even better understanding of the development of type 2 diabetes and to be able to identify further interesting patterns, it is important to include much larger amounts of data in the future". Here the DZD is planning to establish a Digital Diabetes Prevention Center (DDPC) together with Helmholtz Zentrum München.
To further advance the digitalization process in diabetology and to promote constructive exchange between the players, BERLIN-CHEMIE AG has joined forces with leading experts to launch the bytes4diabetes Award. The bytes4diabetes Award is being presented for the first time in 2020. A total of four projects have been selected to receive awards.
Further information about the prize: www.bytes4diabetes.de
Further information about the DZD project "Graphs to Fight Diabetes": Video (02:04 Min. - in German)