News Release

European partnership to combat type 1 diabetes receives €23 million Euros in funding

Grant and Award Announcement

Technische Universität Dresden

Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a growing concern, particularly among children and young people, leading to lifelong implications. Recent years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, have witnessed an increase in T1D cases. T1D profoundly impacts the quality of life, and individuals developing T1D before the age of ten face an average reduction of 14 years in life expectancy. This autoimmune disease results from a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that ultimately destroy insulin-producing cells. Approximately nine million people worldwide are affected, including 300,000 European children. 

A Call for Paradigm Shift 

As we commemorated the 100th anniversary of insulin's first clinical use, it was evident that a paradigm shift in T1D management is needed. Early detection and intervention are imperative. While previous screening efforts have predominantly focused on family history, around 90% of new cases arise without familial links. Identifying children within the general population at a preclinical stage is essential. Pioneering initiatives in Germany, including Dresden, aiming to screen for early T1D indicators are ongoing. However, a coordinated European strategy and comprehensive evaluation are still lacking. 

The EDENT1FI Solution 

EDENT1FI, which stands for "European action for the Diagnosis of Early Non-clinical Type 1 diabetes For disease Interception", has been designed to address these challenges comprehensively. Its key objectives include creating a roadmap for general population screening for early-stage T1D in 200,000 children across Europe, assessing the psychosocial, medical, and economic impact of such screening in diverse European health systems and populations, including underserved families, refining the use of T1D biomarkers to improve risk stratification, staging, and personalized monitoring, as well as enabling the development of innovative, adapted therapeutic strategies to effectively prevent and manage T1D and informing and educating the public, healthcare professionals, and regulatory authorities about new paradigms in T1D diagnosis and care. 

A Vision for the Future 

Ultimately, EDENT1FI aspires to position Europe as a leader in preventing T1D in children and adolescents. 

"It is extremely satisfying to see our T1D biomarker discoveries over the last decades turn into a prestigious European academia-industry collaborative effort. This is an important step to widespread screening that will eventually lead to a significant delay and even prevention of Type 1 Diabetes in children,” says Prof. Ezio Bonifacio, leader of EDENT1FI work package 3 and the Dresden team at the CRTD. 

Funding and Patient Involvement 

The EDENT1FI project operates within the framework of the Innovative Health Initiative – Joint Undertaking (IHI-JU) and boasts a total budget of approximately €23.5 million. The majority (€22 million) originates through funding from the European Commission (Horizon Europe), The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) and in-kind contributions (EFPIA, MedTech and JDRF). Additional funding of €1.5 million is provided to associated UK partners through the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Guarantee Fund. 

EDENT1FI is also guided by patients themselves through the Patient Advisory Committee, comprising people with Type 1 Diabetes or their parents who provide invaluable feedback and help disseminate the goals of EDENT1FI to the public. 

About the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) 
The Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) of TUD Dresden University of Technology is an academic home for scientists from more than 30 nations. Their mission is to discover the principles of cell and tissue regeneration and leverage this for the recognition, treatment, and reversal of diseases. The CRTD links the bench to the clinic, scientists to clinicians to pool expertise in stem cells, developmental biology, gene-editing, and regeneration towards innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, hematological diseases such as leukemia, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, bone and retina diseases. The CRTD was founded in 2006 as a research center of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and funded until 2018 as a DFG Research Center, as well as a Cluster of Excellence. Since 2019, the CRTD is funded by the TU Dresden and the Free State of Saxony.The CRTD is one of three institutes of the central scientific facility Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) of the TU Dresden.  

About TU Dresden
TUD Dresden University of Technology, as a University of Excellence, is one of the leading and most dynamic research institutions in Germany. With around 8,300 members of staff and around 29,000 students in 17 Faculties, it is one of Europe’s largest technically-oriented universities. Founded in 1828, today it is a globally oriented, regionally anchored top university, developing innovative solutions for the world's most pressing issues. In research and academic programs, the university unites the natural and engineering sciences with the humanities, social sciences and medicine. This wide range of disciplines is an outstanding feature that facilitates interdisciplinarity and transfer of science to society.

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