Diabetes is a global pandemic, currently affecting around 60 million people in Europe. Patients with the disease are often unable to regulate their blood sugar so it can become dangerously high (hyperglycaemia) or dangerously low (hypoglycaemia). If left untreated, blood sugar levels can fall below the threshold for maintaining brain function leading to cognitive decline, cardiovascular complications and even death.
Much about hypoglycaemia remains unknown so the Innovative Medicines Initiative, an EU public-private partnership that funds health research and innovation, has awarded €26.8 million to 23 academic, industry and third sector partners across Europe and the USA. The aim of the project Hypo-RESOLVE (Hypoglycaemia – Redefining SOLutions for better liVEs) is to provide researchers and clinicians the tools to address many of the as yet unanswered questions.
As one of the major academic partners the team at King’s, led by Professor Stephanie Amiel and Dr Pratik Choudhary, will examine the collective data from over 100 clinical trials over the next four years. They hope to understand the full effect of hypoglycaemia and identify key risk factors and predictors in different populations. Dr Choudhary will also lead a multinational clinical study to reveal the extent and impact of ‘asymptomatic hypoglycaemia’: a milder form which, although often not recorded, is thought to be significantly detrimental to long-term health.
The project aims to create an international clinical database, conduct research to better understand the mechanisms and impact of hypoglycaemia and finally evaluate the financial cost to Europe and the countries involved. Key to this work will be the voices of people living with the disease. The Hypo-RESOLVE team plan substantial public and patient consultation to ensure that patients’ insights are considered and to strengthen public awareness of hypoglycaemia and diabetes generally.