The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

Diabetes research and challenges faced by local researchers discussed with Commissioner Moedas

Friday, 12 February 2016, 12:56 Last update: about 5 years ago

“The fact that we all know someone with diabetes shows how extensive its affects are on the lives of our citizens.  Europe and Members States must prioritise methods of prevention to ensure that diabetic persons have the best medical attention.  Investment in research as well as methods of treatment and prevention is money well spent. Member States must match Europe’s financial commitment towards research and treatment related to diabetes.” Maltese MEP Therese Comodini Cachia made these remarks during a meeting of the EU Diabetes Working Group (EUDWG) focusing on research and entitled ‘Diabetes: The Unmet Needs - Key Priorities for European Diabetes Research’.

After meeting Maltese researchers, Dr Comodini Cachia presented the Working Group with one of the research projects being proposed by a Maltese researcher and which focuses on developing a more effective and efficient mass screening tool to reduce the risk of visual impairment in those suffering from diabetes caused by Diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is the second largest cause of blindness in Europe but if detected in time, it can be controlled to some extent. Malta has a high incidence of DR and this is permanently increasing.

Dr Comodini Cachia spoke of the challenges faced by local researchers to obtain funding including the fact that too much weight is being given to the industrial and economic potential of the research rather than its innovative and scientific aspects, the latter being an important link for science breakthroughs in health to be made by the global scientific community.

Commissioner Carlos Moedas – European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation attended the meeting and stated that: “New combinations of diabetes research with digital technologies are leading to innovative opportunities for treatments. I am convinced that personalised medicine will play an increasingly important role in the fight against diabetes. So I want Europe to lead the way.”

Commissioner Moedas emphasised the importance of providing more options for patients and keeping Europe at the forefront of new solutions in diabetes treatment and outlined that within its first 2 years − Horizon 2020 was already funding around 63 diabetes projects with around 140 million euro. The Commissioner congratulated the EUDWG for its efforts in the fight against diabetes.

The discovery of insulin in the early part of the 20th century was a major landmark in diabetes medical research. The world changed forever for those diagnosed with this life-threatening condition. Europe, through the scientific research community, has an increasing knowledge and understanding of some of the causes of diabetes. However, continued investment in basic, clinical and research must be continued and sustained.

The European Coalition for Diabetes which forms part of the EUDWG has put high on its agenda research along with public awareness, prevention and treatment and long-term monitoring.

The EUDWG is a group of cross-party, cross-national MEPs with particular interest in diabetes. Comodini Cachia is co-chair of the Working Group.


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