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Stratification of Obesity Phenotypes to Optimize Future Therapy

Project description

Optimising obesity treatment through sorting into relevant groups

Obesity is often perceived as a lack of self control rather than a disease. The EU-funded SOPHIA project aims to challenge this misconception by providing evidence for disease heterogeneity and create a shared value where all the stakeholders can do well by doing good. Researchers will identify predictors of risks of obesity complications as well as the subpopulations who are at risk of specific complications (e.g. type 2 diabetes, T2D, cardiovascular disease, CVD, cancers and osteoarthritis). The project will also identify predictors of response to different obesity treatments. The outcomes of this research will allow patients to receive higher quality information which in turn will empower them to make decisions together with their healthcare professionals in regards to their treatment.


SOPHIA will optimise the future treatment of obesity. The challenge is that clinicians, payers and patients view obesity as a failure of self-control, rather than a disease. We will change this perspective by defining subpopulations in terms of (a) the risks of complications linked to obesity, (b) response to various obesity treatments. The subpopulations will be characterised in terms of operational variables (phenotypic, genetic, behavioural, environmental, and omics). These predictive variables will facilitate diagnosis and underpin personalised and protocolised obesity care.
Patient priorities regarding risk and response will influence all aspects of our work. SOPHIA will create a federated database of premier EU cohorts to identify operational variables that are predictive of risk and treatment response in people with and without diabetes. We will validate the predictive value of these variables before creating clinically-useful algorithms to decide “when-to-treat” and “how-to-treat”. Biomarker variables will feed into innovative assays, tests and research targets. We will interpret and analyse our results, to identify shared value across all stakeholders (patients, clinicians, industry, payers).
SOPHIA will change attitudes and experience of obesity by (1) demonstrating the heterogeneity of the disease, (2) identifying people at risk of complications, (3) identifying the best treatment for each individual, (4) delivering a common vocabulary and shared understanding of obesity, (5) demonstrating shared value, which combines commercial opportunity with societal benefit.
Our ambition will only be realised if (a) payers agree to fund treatment, (b) industry generate effective treatments, (c) clinicians are prepared to prescribe treatments, and (d) patients are prepared to take treatments. The evidence base does not currently exist. SOPHIA will deliver this evidence and the shared value analysis to drive this revolution in obesity care.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 611 729,00
4 Dublin

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 801 729,00

Participants (38)