ULB Center for Diabetes Research

Disease

ULB Center for Diabetes Research

 

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Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by chronic hyperglycemia which can lead to chronic complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness and renal failure. Diabetic hyperglycemia results from a failure to sufficiently produce or respond to insulin.

Current therapies consist of insulin administration or drugs that increase insulin secretion or insulin sensitivity. Unfortunately, these therapies often fail to ensure long-term glycemic control in patients and they do not reverse disease progression. Thus, intensive research to develop novel treatment strategies is urgently needed. There are two major types of diabetes:

 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10-15% of cases and results from the progressive autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β-cells in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. Without the insulin-producing β-cells, patients with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels.

Researchers at the UCDR are dedicated to finding effective detection, prevention and treatment strategies for the disease. Research at the UCDR incorporates basic and clinical studies, using both rodent and human cells to study the causes and mechanisms of the disease and to explore new treatment options.

 

Type 2 Diabetes

High blood glucose in type 2 diabetes results from failure of the β-cells to produce enough insulin in combination with resistance to the effects of insulin in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Around 80% of diabetic patients have type 2 diabetes, with sixty million Europeans suffering from the disorder.

Type 2 diabetes has a genetic predisposition, but the risk is greatly increased with excess weight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, unhealthy diet and age. The development of type 2 diabetes is complex and involves an interplay between multiple signalling pathways and tissues. The increasing prevalence of obesity in society means that the incidence of type 2 diabetes is expected to increase further, and so are the associated public health burden and economic costs. There is no cure for the disease. This is why intensive scientific research and new treatments need to be developed for these patients.

 

Visit Us

As a highly successful and internationally recognized laboratory, UCDR comprises an exceptional body of established and young research professionals.

You are welcome to visit the Center to hear about our ongoing research and see how our scientists are working to improve the health of people with diabetes, or to explore job opportunities.