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Helmholtz Munich | Andreas Pfohl

200 000 Euro donated for the prevention of Type-1-Diabetes

Awards & Grants, IDF,

In his testament, a deceased member of the Deutscher Diabetiker Bund (DDB) e. V. stated the will to support diabetes research with 200 000 Euro. The money was now donated to the Institute of Diabetes Research of Helmholtz Munich (IDF) led by Anette-Gabriele Ziegler and fund a research project on clinical prevention of Type-1-Diabetes. The project starting in fall 2022 will be conducted in close collaboration with the DDB e. V.

Type-1-Diabetes is an autoimmune disease induced by the bodies own immune system being misdirected to attack the insulin producing beta-cells. Immunotherapy using Teplizumab can slow down a fast progression of the disease, giving the affected children up to five more years free of symptoms. Treatment with Teplizumab needs to be started in a pre-symptomatic stage of the disease, which can be detected in a blood screening for autoantibodies against the insulin producing islets of the pancreas. Nevertheless, predicting whether the disease will have a fast or slow progression is still challenging. This makes it more difficult to find study participants potentially benefiting from Teplizumab treatment, which was recently approved in the USA but not yet in the European Union. Thus, the team around Lenche Chakievska wants to identify new biomarkers that allow to distinguish between slow and fast progressing Type-1-Diabetes in pre-symptomatic stages. The researchers will analyze data from the Fr1da study, that collected immunological, genetic and metabolic measurements of around 500 children diagnosed with an early stage of Type-1-Diabetes. Using statistical modelling and artificial intelligence, the researchers want to cluster the children into groups of fast and slow disease progression. In the clinic, this could help to identify children benefiting from Teplizumab therapy and thereby support the development of preventive measures against Type-1-Diabetes.

About the researchers:

Prof. Dr. Anette Ziegler, Director of the Institute of Diabetes Research of Helmholtz Munich

Dr. Lenche Chakievska, leader of the project and post doctoral esearcher at the Institute of Diabetes Research of Helmholtz Munich