Friday, 20th, January 2017: Precision or personalised management of diabetes, is a major focus of the Fifth Annual 3U Partnership International Diabetes Conference entitled ‘Current Challenges in Diabetes Research’ which takes place at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) in Dublin today.
The Conference had an update from the National Clinical Lead in Diabetes, Dr Seán Dineen, with 2015 figures showing 5.2% of Irish adults have been diagnosed with the disease. Globally 9% of adults are believed to suffer from diabetes, with many of these remaining undiagnosed.
The topic of precision medicine – the tailoring of medical decisions, practices, and treatment to the individual patient. – were discussed by Dr Judith Fradkin, Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the NIDDK in Baltimore. Dr Fradkin gave details of the National Institutes of Health Precision Medicine Initiative which was developed on foot of the announcement by President Barack Obama, in his state of the Union address of 2015, of a commitment to support a more individualised approach to maintaining and improving health. President Obama, who is a long-time supporter of precision medicine, described it as – “delivering the right treatments, at the right time, every time to the right person.”
Dr Donal O’Gorman, of the School of Health and Human Performance at DCU and director of the 3U diabetes consortium, commented: “we are very excited to have a focus on precision medicine for diabetes at our annual meeting this year. This has been the main focus of our consortium over the last 18 months. We firmly believe that every person with diabetes comes to that point through a different journey and that while large scale clinical trials can guide us in managing patient groups, their conclusions can not necessarily be applied to every individual. Diabetes, which means a high sugar level in the blood, has many different causes. A more rational approach to patient management is to take the individual’s situation into account. We need to consider why their blood sugar is high and address the underlying cause as well as taking into account factors that may mean that a treatment that suits many may not be appropriate for the individual. We feel that a greater understanding of the causes, from genetic to environmental, and the physiological disturbances that culminate in diabetes in the individual, will facilitate the most appropriate management for the individual – the right treatment for the right person at the right time. Ultimately this type of approach is most likely to benefit the long term health of the person with diabetes and give the best chance of keeping them free of complications.”
Researchers from the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland addressed the conference which focussed on hot topics in research into both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Other talks at the 3U Partnership conference focussed on the role of geographical factors on diabetes, abnormalities in the liver, muscle and fat which can all contribute to diabetes and the role of the gut in diabetes, but its causation and its treatment.
Diabetes is a priority research focus of the 3U Partnership, which brings together the academic strengths of Dublin City University, Maynooth University and RCSI to enhance education and research opportunities across the three partner institutions. The 3U Diabetes Consortium, comprising clinicians and scientists from the three institutions, is committed to developing cutting edge research into this chronic and costly disease in Ireland and aligns a number of interlinked areas of research into the condition extending from identifying and developing new molecules with therapeutic potential to providing world class diabetes care and treatments in the clinic.
Dr O’Gorman, commented that “we are again delighted to welcome such an outstanding group of researchers to the 3U for this year’s conference. The faculty, which includes the Minkowski award winner and the winner of the Rising Star award from the 2016 European Association for the Study of Diabetes, comprises clinical and basic science researchers from North America and Europe who will share their current research findings with us and discuss the challenges of managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Because diabetes is one of the commonest chronic diseases in Ireland, maintaining the focus on the condition and supporting research into the condition is of paramount importance in helping improve patients’ lives.”
The meeting was opened by Dr Ruth Davis, Director of the 3U Partnership, who said “the 3U Diabetes meeting has become one of the most important events in the diabetes calendar over the last 5 years. It is also an important event for the three partner institutions and has allowed the consortium to develop collaborative links with leading institutions in the world of diabetes research. It is envisaged that these links will foster training opportunities for young Irish researchers and contribute significantly to the evolution and sustainability of the important 3U Partnership.”
RCSI Communications Department
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
123 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Conference photos at https://www.facebook.com/3UPartnership/photos/?tab=album&album_id=729523517224709