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Press release

New EU-funded research project (DEXLIFE) to investigate ways to detect and prevent type 2 diabetes in real-life settings

The EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) has awarded a consortium led by John Nolan, CEO and Head of Steno Diabetes Center in Denmark, a research grant of 5.5 million Euros. The grant will fund a new type 2 diabetes prevention project (DEXLIFE) which will run over the next 3½ years involving a wide range of European partners, including diabetes clinics, universities, and industry. “The aim of the project is to enable early stage identification of people with pre-diabetes who respond poorly or not at all to diet and exercise interventions”, says John Nolan. The project will look at markers in the blood, muscle, and genes to establish a better understanding of the progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes and how it can be prevented.

A lifestyle intervention that works

Vhi Healthcare is an important partner in the project providing access to a large population group and to data from 24,000 screened members who are over 45. Vhi Healthcare is the largest private health insurance company in Ireland covering approximately 60% of all insured people. Of those screened to date, 11% had pre-diabetes and 63% were overweight and obese. “We have an epidemic of lifestyle disease and type 2 diabetes coming down the track”, says Dr Bernadette Carr, Medical Director of Vhi Healthcare and continues: “We need a lifestyle intervention model which is practical and which can be extended to the entire population.”

The Centre for Preventive Medicine at Dublin City University will be responsible of implementing a 3-month lifestyle intervention programme targeting people with pre-diabetes. The programme aims to to improve insulin sensitivity and fitness of the individuals and will determine markers in the blood and muscle, and track these with the improvements in physiology in response to the lifestyle intervention. “We know the healthcare system can’t cope with the number of people developing type 2 diabetes and if we can find new markers that predict the onset of type 2 diabetes at an earlier stage , it could potentially impact the health of European citizens.”, says Donal O’Gorman, Director of Centre for Preventive Medicine at Dublin City University.

The insights coming out of the Dexlife project in the Irish setting will be compared and analysed together with partners studying similar clinical cohorts in the UK, Finland, US, Spain, and Denmark.

For more information:

Please contact John Nolan, CEO and Head of Steno Diabetes Center:
0045- 3075 5003

About the partners:

Steno Diabetes Center, Denmark
Steno Diabetes Center will lead and coordinate the DEXLIFE project

Dublin City University, Ireland
The University is responsible for the lifestyle interventions to identify novel biomarkers

Vhi Healthcare, Ireland will manage a large population group of members previously examined for diabetes

Fundacio privada institut de recerca biomedica IRB, Spain
The institute will perform cell and tissue analysis for novel biomarkers

Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL)
The institute will perform cell and tissue analysis for epigenetics studies

University of Eastern Finland
The university will identify new type 2 diabetes cases from a long-term study in a Finnish population group previously examined for diabetes

Metabolon, US
The institute will perform metabolomics analysis for identifying and validating biomarkers

University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
The university will re-study participants from an ongoing large European research study who have been previously examined for diabetes

Pintail Ltd, Ireland
The company will be responsible for administration of the project together with Steno Diabetes Center

About EU Seventh Framework Programmes
The Framework Programmes 7 is EU’s main instrument for funding research between 2007-2013. Framework Programmes are proposed by the European Commission and adopted by Council and the European Parliament following a co-decision procedure.

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