Research to target metabolic diseases
The relationship between metabolism and inflammation in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes is the focus of several major research programmes.
The projects, which are due to start in May, will focus on discovering new pathways – series of reactions within cells – and molecules that are important in detecting alterations in metabolism, as well as understanding how immune cells work in metabolic diseases.
The funded programmes both combine the fields of immunology and metabolic research and bring together investigators from three institutions; the University of Copenhagen, the University of Oxford and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
One of the projects, 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.
Professor Claudia Monaco from the University of Oxford is leading the study, which is being funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
She said: “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.”
Professor Robin Choudhury, from the University of Oxford, is leading the second project entitled Discovery and Validation of Novel Targets for Therapy, Characterisation and Response to Treatment in Immuno-metabolic Diseases.
Professor Choudhury said: “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.”