The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a total of DKK 80 million for two interdisciplinary research programmes exploring the relationship between metabolism and inflammation in metabolic diseases.
Today, obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease – all metabolic diseases – are an epidemic global health problem. Almost 400 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes, and total deaths from the condition are anticipated to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years. Therefore, research which addresses the causes and complications of these diseases and delivers effective treatment for them is of paramount importance.
The funded programmes both combine the fields of immunology and metabolic research and bring together investigators from three institutions; University of Copenhagen, Denmark, University of Oxford, Great Britain, and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
Programmes leaders are Professor Claudia Monaco and Professor Robin Choudhury, both University of Oxford.
“METABOLITES AS DRIVERS OF INFLAMMATION IN METABOLIC DISEASES”
The Programme led by Professor Claudia Monaco, University of Oxford entitled “Metabolites as drivers of inflammation in metabolic diseases” aims to deliver fundamental knowledge about inflammation in metabolic diseases, as well as to identify effective solutions for new medications and prevention strategies.
The hypothesis is that metabolites serve as important signalling molecules and act on specific receptors to drive inflammation in metabolic disease. The project due to start in May 2016 will focus on discovering new pathways and molecules that are important in detecting alterations in metabolism, as well as understanding how immune cells work in metabolic diseases.
Professor Monaco says: “Current treatments for metabolic diseases target the metabolic side of the conditions, addressing the symptoms but leaving the causes largely untreated – we want to close this gap. With the support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, our project brings together people with key skills working to solve this urgent health puzzle, focusing on the inflammation aspect of disease to deliver intelligent drug design and new solutions which really impact on disease.”
The project brings together 10 experts in the fields of metabolism and inflammation from University of Oxford, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. These are:
Thue W. Schwartz and Søren Skov (University of Copenhagen)
Claudia Monaco, Chris O’Callaghan, David R. Greaves, and Keith Channon (University of Oxford)
Jesper Z. Haeggström, Mikael Rydén, Daniel Kethelhuth, and Anna Krook (Karolinska Institute).
“DISCOVERY AND VALIDATION OF NOVEL TARGETS FOR THERAPY, CHARACTERIZATION AND RESPONSE TO TREATMENT IN IMMUNO-METABOLIC DISEASES”
The Programme led by Professor Robin Choudhury, University of Oxford is entitled: “Discovery and validation of novel targets for therapy, characterization and response to treatment in immuno-metabolic diseases”. It goes from big data analysis to find a causal relationship between inflammatory factors and the development of type 2 diabetes and related disorders, to analysis of molecular and cellular mechanisms, to intervention studies.
Professor Choudhury says: “The goal of the Programme is to revise the way we regard diabetes spectrum diseases by learning more about the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of the disease and, in particular, the vascular complications. If successful we may open up new therapeutic possibilities that go beyond merely treating blood sugar and instead target biologically relevant pathways and processes.”
The project brings together 14 experts in the fields of metabolism and inflammation from Oxford, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. These are:
Matthew Gillum, Torben Hansen, Jens Juul Holst, and Signe Sørensen Torekov (University of Copenhagen)
Robin Choudhury, Charalambos Antoniades, Keith Channon, Mark McCarthy, Irina Udalova and Hugh Watkins (University of Oxford).
Myriam Aouadi Jesper Haeggström, Mikael Rydén, and Craig Wheelock (Karolinska Institute).
Christian Mostrup Scheel, Press Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation, phone: 3067 4805