Donation opens new opportunities for more effective diabetes treatment

Published 2012-02-06 00:00. Updated 2014-02-19 09:46Denna sida på svenska

Karolinska Institutet has received a grant of 1.6 million Euro from the Stichting af Jochnick Foundation for research into the fundamental causes of diabetes. The grant will make it possible to use unique methods to study how the release of insulin is regulated in living organisms - and this will create new opportunities for developing more effective drugs against diabetes.

Diabetes is an extremely common condition, and the number of people affected is increasing catastrophically all over the world. It has been calculated that in 2025, 300 million people will suffer from the disease, which not only causes major personal difficulties, but also places an enormous economic burden on the healthcare system. Professor Per-Olof Berggren at Karolinska Institutet has worked for many years mapping the signalling systems that regulate the release of insulin, and his research has led to several revolutionary discoveries.

"Diabetes is a global problem, and this means that it is vital that we understand the causes of the disease, in order to be able to offer more effective treatment. This is why we find it particularly important to support Professor Berggren's innovative and creative research", says Robert af Jochnick, who established the Jochnick Foundation together with his brother Jonas.

Diabetes arises when the body cannot regulate the sugar level in the bloodstream after eating. The level of sugar in the blood increases since there is insufficient insulin available, which is a hormone that normally reduces the blood sugar concentration and transports the sugar into cells. The support from the Jochnick Foundation will provide Professor Berggren and his group with the opportunity to use unique microscope technology to study, in detail and for long periods, how various signals control the release of insulin in living animals. This knowledge will not only be crucial to our understanding of the underlying causes of diabetes, but it will enable us to identify new targets for new, more specific and more effective drugs against diabetes.

"We are very grateful that the af Jochnick family has shown its confidence in us in this way. The generous grant will enable us to hold a long-term perspective in our research projects. This enables us to work with greater boldness, using more advanced technology in experiments in living organisms", says Per-Olof Berggren.

The President of Karolinska Institutet, Professor Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, welcomes the initiative:

"Karolinska Institutet has a long tradition of world-leading diabetes research, and it is for this reason particularly gratifying that we will now have the opportunity to take our successful research forwards. This very generous grant from the af Jochnick Foundation will give us this possibility."

The Stichting af Jochnick Foundation is based in the Netherlands, and was established in 2004 by the af Jochnick family. The purpose of the Foundation is to contribute to the greater good by supporting projects that focus on children, youth, education and world health. To be closely involved in selected projects the Foundation has chosen to fund projects directly, rather than to donate to established charity organisations.

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