The main ideas behind EXODIAB

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EXODIAB is a joint strategic research initiative in the diabetes area at Lund University (LU) and Uppsala University (UU) with the aim to create a national leading resource for diabetes research. EXODIAB is funded by a strategic research grant from the Swedish Research Council (Forskningspropositionen 2009).

Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong, incapacitating disease affecting multiple organs. Worldwide prevalence figures estimate that there are 250 million diabetic patients today and that this number will increase by 50% by 2025. It can be projected that at least 500,000 persons suffer from diabetes in Sweden today. Presently, diabetes can neither be prevented nor cured and the disease is associated with devastating chronic complications. Diabetes and its complications impose an immense burden on the quality of life of the patients and account for more than 10% of health care costs in Sweden or approx. 50,000 SEK/patient/year.

An illustration of how knowledge is meant to flow between the research partners in EXODIAB, healthcare and pharmaceutical corporations.

A central aim is to develop tools for prevention and successful treatment of diabetes. A broad multidisciplinary approach which integrates genetics, bioinformatics, physiology, cell biology, clinical, epidemiological and nutritional research is required to achieve these ambitious goals and pave the way for development of new strategies and therapies for prevention and cure of diabetes.

More specifically, we aim to:

  • Identify the underlying molecular events leading to T1D and T2D and test the pathways involved for their potential as novel drug targets
  • Design a panel of biomarkers and genetic markers which may predict T1D and T2D and development of diabetic complications
  • Test whether vaccination can be used to prevent T1D
  • Exploiting novel dietary concepts and functional food for prevention and management of diabetes and obesity
  • Create a national Human Tissue and Islet Research Resource for the cure of diabetes
  • Create a novel endocrine organ at an extrahepatic site for clinical islet transplantation
  • Test means to prevent micro-and macrovascular complications in diabetes

A central theme in the EXODIAB application is to generate not only local but also national platforms which can facilitate diabetes research in Sweden and the interaction between academia and industry. The EXODIAB consortium has some of the best biobanks in the world for diabetes research, incl. the Botnia study, Malmö Preventive Medicine, Malmö Diet and Cancer, the ULSAM study, ANDIS, TEDDY, DiPiS etc. In addition, the human tissue laboratory, which allows genomic data to be linked to tissue mRNA and protein expression profiles in human islets and target tissues such as liver, muscle and fat is an indispensable resource for diabetes research