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GSK and the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) commit €1 million to diabetes research in Europe


The first group of European researchers to benefit from a significant new scientific research programme in diabetes, funded by GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD) have been announced. Each winner will receive a grant toward their research of €100,000 with a total contribution in 2007 of €500,000. The collaboration will also award up to an additional €500,000 toward this programme in 2008.

“We are extremely pleased with the calibre and number of applicants in only the first year of this programme,” said Dr Alastair Benbow, VP and European Medical Director, GSK. “Approximately 50 million people in Europeare affected by diabetes. GSK is committed to understanding the disease mechanisms so that we can create better treatments for patients.”

The 2007 winners are:
Prof Christophe Magnan, Dept of Physiology/Endocrinology, NRS University, Paris, France

Brain fatty acid sensing in relationship with nervous control of insulin secretion and hepatic glucose production

Prof Magnan will examine the link between the brain, release of sugar from the liver, and secretion of insulin from the pancreas, and the role good and bad fats have in stimulating the brain to signal energy needs to the body.

Dr Lorella Marselli, Senior Scientist, Dept of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Univeristy of Pisa, Italy

Pancreatic islet beta cell inflammation in human type 2 diabetes and the role of gluco- and lipotoxicity

Dr Marselli will look at purified samples of insulin-producing human pancreas cells, and measure the effects of high levels of glucose on increasing inflammation, which is thought to damage these cells in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Dr Claudia Miele, Senior Researcher, CNR Naples, Italy

The role of endoplasmic reticulum stress in the insulin-resistance induced by chronic hyperglycaemia

Dr Miele plans to carry out important work to improve understanding of how raised blood sugar might contribute to insulin resistance, hoping to identify new targets for potential therapies.

Dr Giovambattista Pani, Assistant Professor, General Pathology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

Role of the longivity protein P66shc and of mitochondrial oxygen species (ROS) in obesity-induced insulin resistance and in metabolic syndrome

Dr Pani will study a new protein identified by his lab and its role in the development of obesity, which may contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Prof MichaelRoden, Head, 1st Medical Dept, University of Vienna, Austria

Lipid storage and mitochondrial function — from fatty liver to type 2 diabetes

Prof Roden’s team will use an exciting new technique developed by their department which is similar to MRI scanning, to measure real time metabolism and further understand the development of type 2 diabetes.

“This programme shows the academic community the strength and value of partnerships between EFSD, a non-profit funding agency, and a major pharmaceutical company like GSK,” said Philippe Halban, EFSD Chairman. “We welcome increased funding for research on metabolic toxicity that will be important for improved understanding of type 2 diabetes and may lead to improved therapy for this devastating disease.”

The EFSD/GSK Partnership was launched earlier this year, specifically to promote the study of metabolic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, and to encourage non-profit, research-based projects. Applications were peer-reviewed, by an external committee of independent experts, and funding was based on the quality and significance of the proposed study as well as its relevance to diabetes mellitus.

The goal of the EFSD/GSK Grant Programme is to stimulate and expedite European research aimed at all aspects of metabolic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes with particular focus on the effects of raised blood sugar and abnormal lipids, insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction.


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