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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The combination diabetes-obesity will be the subject of the third BIOCAPS workshop

The confluence of the two major epidemics of the 21st century – diabesity – will be the subject of the scientific meeting held in Vigo from the 22nd to the 24th of October

Nutritionists consider it to be the confluence of the two worst epidemics of the 21st century in developed countries. As such, the combination of diabetes with obesity has been given its own name: diabesity. The Biomedical Research Institute (IBI) will dedicate its third BIOCAPS workshop, which will be held at the Centro Social Afundación de Vigo from the 22nd to the 24th of October, to this combination. Registration is free and is now open .

Although there are no data concerning the number of diabesity cases in Spain, 25% of the population is known to be obese and 13% to suffer from diabetes, and cases in which both disorders coincide are becoming increasingly common, mostly due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits. The relationship is clear: a weight increase is the main risk factor for the onset of diabetes mellitus type 2 as in increase in adipose tissue produces insulin resistance, thus meaning that this hormone is unable to perform its role in the different tissues of the body correctly. This results in hyperglycaemia and the onset of diabetes.

The experts invited to speak at the workshop, which will have English as its official language, come from Germany, the UK, Sweden, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Austria and Spain. As in the previous two editions, this workshop will become an international meeting point at which researchers, transfer and innovation managers, companies, and public bodies from the healthcare sector can exchange information and experiences.

In addition to a large number of researchers from IBI, experts from the four advisory centres for the BIOCAPS project, namely the Toulouse Purpan Centre for Pathophysiology and the Paris Institute of Myology, both in France; the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK; and the German Institute of Nutrition, are also expected to be present at the workshop. Moreover, biomedical researchers from other European scientific institutions and researchers from related scientific fields, as well as researchers from similar fields and experts in results and innovation transfer are also expected to attend.

Focus on incretins

The experts participating in the workshop will concentrate on the pathophysiology of diabesity, with a particular emphasis on incretin treatments. These hormones, which are produced in the intestine in response to food intake, are already being used to treat diabetes due to their ability to stimulate insulin secretion in the pancreas and to control glucose levels.

According to the organisers, “the aim is to bring together internationally renowned scientists and endocrinologists to jointly discuss and update future challenges in this field, including new pathophysiological approaches, developments and applications of incretins and their derivatives in obesity and diabetes”.

The workshop's opening conference will be given by Flavia Mulè, from the University of Palermo (Italy), who will explain the new possibilities for treating diabetes by acting against another hormone other than insulin, namely glucagon, which also plays an important role in maintaining plasma glucose levels within the normal range. Her talk will also cover the potential use of glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) for this purpose, which represents a novel approach that could lead the way to new therapeutic possibilities.

The themed sessions will start with a series of presentations concerning the pathophysiology of adipose tissue, in other words the disorders that originate in fat tissue, by Siegfried Ussar, from the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity in Munich (Germany); Rajaa El Bekay, from the University of Malaga; and Mariana Monteiro, from the University of Porto.

The second day of the workshop will be more intensive, with morning and afternoon sessions dedicated to diabesis-related complications, which range from Parkinson's disease to arteriosclerosis, ophthalmological diseases and other conditions. The first part will be dedicated to neuroendocrinology, with talks from Rubén Nogueiras, from the University of Santiago de Compostela; Eva Vigo, from the University of Vigo; and Christoffer Clemmensen, from the IDO in Munich. An overview of neuropathology will be provided by Karolina Skibickas, from the University of Göteborg (Sweden); Iciar Avilés-Olmos, from the Sobell Institute in London (UK); and Rafael Simó, from the Hospital Vall d'Hebron (Barcelona). Cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders will be presented by Manel Puig, from the Hospital Trias-Puyol (Barcelona), Susana Ravassa, from the University of Navarra; and Alexander Haslberger, from the University of Vienna (Austria).

The session will close with a plenary speech by Donal O'Shea, from the University of Dublin (Ireland), who will review recent progress in incretin therapy for treating obesity and inflammation.

New frontiers

Finally, Saturday will be dedicated to the most innovative approaches and the greatest challenges in the treatment of diabesity. José Manuel Fernández-Real, from the University of Girona; Marina Romani, from the University of Bordeaux (France); and Javier Salvador, from the University of Navarra, will cover aspects ranging from the new drugs currently in development to the ability of grape seeds to regulate processes related to this condition.

The closing lecture will be given by Timo Muller, from the IDO in Munich, who will present the new generation of incretin complexes for specific therapies to the audience.

More information can be found here.