One of IDF Europe's main activities is policy and advocacy at the regional and national level.
At regional level, the main targets of IDF Europe are the EU Institutions (European Parliament and European Commission), the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization European Region.
At national level, the Federation acts as a bridge for its Members by informing them on the latest policy developments Europe-wide. This way, national members can perfom their policy and advocay activities at national level, using regional activities as a reference.
How did you hear about the IDF Europe Prize in diabetes and what motivated you apply?
When I took part in the PhD programme of Semmelweis University, in Hungary, our immunogenomics research group focused on genetics, functional genomics and pathogenesis of different types of diabetes. We coordinated a nationwide genetics research programme with a national registry for new type 1 diabetes cases covering the whole country and established a large DNA bank and genetic database of 1500 families living with type 1 diabetes. So as PhD-student I gained great experience in the modern laboratory techniques of genetics and molecular biology. As postdoctoral scientist, I wanted to use the latest genetic testing technologies in the clinical practice also as it represented a great opportunity to obtain the maximum of information and benefit for our patient. My supervisor, Professor László Madácsy helped me reach my goal and drew my attention to the young researcher’s category of IDF Prize and supported my application.
What has been the impact of the IDF Europe Prize on your research career? Which charity benefited from the your prize donation? Why did you choice this one? Do you know what your donation helped achieve?
In my new work our primary aim was to identify new biomarkers and genetic factors which have an impact on the glucose variability and the risk of hypoglycaemia in different types of diabetes. With the help of the IDF Europe Prize we could start the research project, provide more than 100 gluco-sensors for continuous glucose monitoring to our patients who cannot afford them. In addition, we were able to carry out nearby 100 genetic tests which could help in refine the diagnosis and contribute to better understanding of pathways involved in diabetes pathogenesis. The award helped me continue my previous research work and get closer to the most important goal on account of which I got into this job: to improve the quality of life and the health outcomes of people with diabetes.
How is your research progressing since the Prize?
Our new project aims to carry out a population-based clinical study determining the risk factors for severe hypoglycaemia in people living with diabetes. The hypoglycaemia is the most frequent acute complication of insulin-dependent diabetes, therefore the ability to predict severe hypoglycaemia would be a major advantage in daily diabetes management. Because the increased glucose variability is a strong independent predictor of hypoglycaemia, we planned to compare the glucose variability patterns and to map the risk factors for increased glucose variability in different types of diabetes. Therefore up to now we calculated the within-day and day-to-day glucose variability, hyper- and hypoglycaemic time based on continuous glucose monitoring data in nearly 200 people living with type 1, insulin-treated and non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes. We correlated the variability indices with clinical parameters and treatment regimens. We concluded that people living with type 1 diabetes show significantly higher glucose variability than patient with type 2 diabetes, irrespectively of their metabolic control. However, the variability pattern in insulin-treated and non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes is similar. Lower glucose fluctuations can be seen in case of higher residual beta-cell function and higher body mass index, while insulin therapy can increase significantly the glycaemic instability. Publication of results is in progress.
Our knowledge on the possible genetic factors of increased glucose variability and hypoglycaemia tendency is completely lacking. Our long term plans include comparing the genetic patterns in groups with different glucose variability which may be contributed to predict the hypoglycaemia risk. I believe that these new findings will help people living with diabetes with managing the blood glucose level in everyday practice.