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European network on functional genomics of type 2 diabetes

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Trademarking type 2 diabetes

Diabetes type 2 is the cause of a variety of human pathologies worsening the quality of life and reducing life expectancy. A European network of scientists is identifying environmental and genetic risk factors to prevent and treat diabetes.

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Over the last 50 years, diabetes’ rates have been increased dramatically in parallel with obesity. The long-term complications of diabetes include some of the major causes of death in Europe, such as heart disease and strokes. Type 2 diabetes, which makes up to 90 % of the cases, is a complex polygenic disorder caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Insulin resistance in the target tissues (muscle, adipose tissue and liver) is one of the early events in the development of this disease. The EU-funded ‘European network on functional genomics of type 2 diabetes’ (Eugene2) focused on the establishment of a cohesive and multidisciplinary European Network of Excellence to promote research in the field of type 2 diabetes. Academic and industrial experts in functional genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics joined their efforts to decipher the complex pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. The network was successfully established by the integration of common research platforms, which were actively used by all partners. In these platforms, resources, data and knowledge could be easily shared within the network in a productive and effective manner. Novel reagents, antibodies and protocols were developed and made accessible to the network partners. Moreover, the successful spread, application and validation of these novel reagents by Eugene2 experts made them attractive to biotech companies in Europe. Currently, a contract with a Spanish company has been signed and Eugene2 reagents will soon be commercially available. In addition, the Eugene2 consortium, in an effort to prevent type 2 diabetes, established an innovative centre for genotyping first-degree relatives (FDRs). A plethora of risk genes were identified and many more are currently under evaluation. These crucial for prevention and treatment studies will be continued after the completion of the Eugene2 project. During the quest for a better understanding of type 2 diabetes aetiology and consequences, novel genes were identified and functionally characterised. Eugene2 scientists showed the involvement of these genes in essential pathogenetic steps of type 2 diabetes in a series of publications in high impact journals. The tremendous interest of the scientific community triggered widespread media interest. Eugene2 project achievements were disseminated through the established network, scientific publications, conferences and the media. More than 43 joint scientific articles and 187 scientific papers acknowledging Eugene2 were published in 5 years. Furthermore, hundreds of media publications and several TV and radio shows highlighted the impact of Eugene2 in healthcare, pharmaceutical development and public health policies. The European network established by Eugene2 has strengthened and enhanced efficient prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.

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