- To identify and functionally characterise the genes responsible for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and its complications in man in order :
- To fully understand, at the molecular level, the complex pathogenetic processes leading to beta-cell destruction and eventually to IDDM and the development of complications. The ultimate goal is :
- To design new rational preventive/curative strategies for the treatment of IDDM and its complications.
IDDM is a serious health problem in Europe and a costly one. The cumulative incidence rate of IDDM (0-90 years) is about 1.0 per cent, and the incidence rates of IDDM in the EU Member States have increased at least 2 to 3 fold over the last 4 decades. The direct and indirect costs of the diabetes problem (IDDM and NIDDM) in the European Union can be estimated at approximately 200 million ECU/million inhabitants/year. IDDM is amongst the leading causes of blindness, and diabetes is the largest contributor to dialysis - and renal transplantation programmes globally, and 25-30 per cent of lower limb amputations are performed on the 2-3 per cent diabetes in the populations. Thus, IDDM is a devastating disease carrying a heavy burden of reduced quality and quantity of life. Research over the last 20 years has made it clear that understanding in detail the processes leading to beta-cell destruction and IDDM and how each element is under genetic control is the key to the design of new treatments aimed at the disease process as such. Know-how and technology from modern immunology, cell biology and molecular genetics (the human genome project in particular) make the characterisation of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of the pathogenesis of IDDM possible in unprecedented detail. The collection of sera and DNA from very large, population-based, ethnically homogenous, fully genetically informative and clinically well-characterised IDDM family materials from high IDDM incidence countries is a unique resource which will be established.
The collection of family materials can be achieved only across Europe. The hitherto most detailed picture of the genetics of IDDM and the molecular basis of its pathogenesis and complications will result from the proposed research. This is expected to allow the design of new rational therapeutic approaches to the prevention and cure of IDDM and identification of IDDM patients at risk for developing complications.
The proposed research could open up new opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
171 76 Stockholm
OX3 7BN Oxford/headington
901 87 Umeå