Research for the Benefit of People

One important task of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) is to transfer new findings faster and more efficiently into effective diagnosis and treatment methods. Recent examples of how the DZD helps to close translational gaps within medical research, e.g. between basic research, clinical research and practical implementation, were presented by DZD board member Professor Martin Hrabĕ de Angelis at the annual press conference of the German Diabetes Society in Berlin. For example, basic and clinical research work in the field of fatty liver has helped to further decipher the development of diabetes and to develop new therapeutic approaches.

Neither a person’s body mass index (BMI) nor abdominal fat deposits alone cause type 2 diabetes. In particular, the accumulation of fat in the liver favors the disturbance of the blood glucose metabolism. DZD studies have shown that a fatty liver increases the production of the hormone fetuin-A and releases it into the bloodstream. This protein binds to insulin receptors in the muscles and fat cells and thus contributes to insulin resistance. Initial results from DZD research have been incorporated into the Clinical Practice Guidelines (recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)).

Big Data for Personalized Diabetes Prevention
Another important topic of the press conference was digitization. Professor Hrabĕ de Angelis stressed that the new information and communication technologies open up a new dimension in diabetes research and the opportunity to offer suitable prevention measures. However, this requires a large amount of health and research data from a wide variety of sources. The establishment of a Digital Diabetes Prevention Center (DDPC), which will use innovative IT technologies for data mining within this data, will facilitate the identification of diabetes subtypes and provide the basis for personalized treatment or prevention.

The complete statement (in German) can be found here.