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JDRF and UK Science & Innovation Network Partner in Workshop Focused on The Rising Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in Europe

October 28, 2010

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) partnered with UK Science and Innovation Network to invite leading European researchers to a summit to explore strategies for furthering research in the prevention of type 1 diabetes in Europe. The event took place on October 20-21, 2010, welcoming top-class researchers in the field to Cambridge University.

The summit was proposed after recent statistics indicated that the incidence, or number of new cases, of type 1 diabetes in children under five years old in Europe is increasing by more than 5% annually. Experts have predicted that the number of children under five years old in Europe diagnosed with the condition is set to double between the years of 2005 and 2020.

During the two-day summit, researchers discussed whether the rising incidence of type 1 diabetes is widespread across Europe. They explored the basis for the increased incidence, and examined research strategies for the prevention of type 1 diabetes.

Professor Chantal Mathieu, from University Hospital of Leuven and Professor Mikael Knip, University of Helsinki were Scientific Chair and Co-chair at the workshop, with Professor John Todd from Cambridge University supporting them as host and moderator of this event.

Richard Insel, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of JDRF, Teodora Staeva, Ph.D., Director of Immune Therapies of JDRF, and Concepcion Nierras, Ph.D. Director of Research, Scientific Affairs of JDRF, were among the panelists at the workshop.

Several sessions were held at the conference, exploring the latest data related to prevalence of type 1 diabetes and debating causes for the changing epidemiology of the disease.

The first session addressed Epidemiology of Type 1 Diabetes in Europe led by Professor Nick Wareham, Cambridge University, with presentations from Dr. Chris Patterson of Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Annette Ziegler, University of Munich, as well as Professor Ahmed Delli of Lund University.

Also on day one, Professor Mikael Knip from the University of Helsinki led discussions on the changing epidemiology patterns of type 1 diabetes that will included presentations given by Professor John Todd, Cambridge University, Dr. Kjersti Rönningen, Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Dr. Outi Vaarala, National Institute for Health and Welfare Helsinki.

On day two, Chantal Mathieu led a discussion on the strategies focused on preventing type 1 diabetes, with presentations from Professor Polly Bingley, Bristol University, Professor Ezio Bonifacio, Centre for Regenerative Therapies Dresden and Professor Mark Peakman, King’s College sharing their knowledge and experience with current clinical trials for primary and secondary prevention.

Findings and conclusions were discussed in the fourth session with five funding organizations: JDRF, Wellcome Trust, Diabetes UK, Medical Research Council and EC FP7, focussing on a draft version of a T1D prevention roadmap prepared by JDRF.

The end product of the meeting was a workshop report identifying the obstacles and challenges in type 1 diabetes prevention and proposing solutions to overcome these hurdles. This report is a unique document based on critical review by European experts of the present state of the art of type 1 diabetes prevention and will be the basis for further directions in European research.

Rachel Connor, Head of Research Communication at JDRF UK said: “We are delighted to join the UK Science & Innovation Network in bringing together leading type 1 diabetes experts to share their insights and expertise on the rising incidence of type 1 diabetes. Most importantly, this meeting will provide a starting point for developing strategies to reverse this trend in the future across Europe and beyond.”

Article from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation national website.

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