Diabesity: a growing problem
The rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity, type-2 diabetes and associated complications (diabesity) is a major global health problem. In Europe alone, approximately 33 million adults will be suffering from diabetes by 2010, and obesity, which is a major recognised risk factor for type-2 diabetes, is itself rapidly increasing in prevalence resulting in a diabesity epidemic. The current cost of type-2 diabetes in the European Union is 15 billion Euros per year, and medical complications arising from diabetes account for up to 8% of total health costs in Europe. For most people, neither dieting nor current pharmacological interventions are effective in achieving long-term weight reduction. Thus to prevent and treat diabesity we must develop approaches to modulate the ways in which the brain controls metabolism, body weight and composition.
Diabesity: towards a solution
DIABESITY was a European Union Framework Programme VI Integrated Project (LSHM-CT2003-503041) which ran for 4 years 2004-2008 involving a consortium of 27 partners from 24 European Institutions, coordinated by The University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The DIABESITY project brought together basic and clinical scientists and aimed to identify new genes implicated in obesity and to develop strategies for validating these genes as targets for future pharmacological manipulation. The project studied how these genes interact with hypothalamic pathways that regulate appetite and metabolism and used multiple approaches to establish the functional role of genes in regulating metabolism, body weight and composition. Using this approach the project aimed to identify several new drug targets for the treatment and prevention of diabesity.