As every year, November 14th is World Diabetes Day (WDD), the first global awareness campaign on Diabetes. It was created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991. It is now the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign and involves people from everyday life, associations, NGOs, patients and healthcare professionals from 160+ countries around the world. In 2014, WDD reached over 1 billion people. The official logo of WDD, a blue circle, was adopted in 2007: it represents the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the epidemic. The date of November 14th is highly symbolic for the diabetic community since it is the birthday of Frederick Banting, the man who discovered Insulin in 1922, together with Charles Best.
The main and most feared complication of diabetes, Diabetic Retinopathy, is a chronic eye condition that eventually develops in up to 90% of people living with type-1 diabetes (and 60% with type-2). It is the first cause of blindness among working-age individuals in developed countries. Although effective, current treatments are expensive and invasive. Even though Diabetic Retinopathy is a vascular disease (it affects the veins and arteries of the patients’ eyes), recent evidences and findings suggest it may have a neurodegenerative origin. Strategies based on neuroprotection could consequently be effective in preventing or treating the earliest stages of the condition. With this innovative approach in mind, a group of leading European scientists, ophthalmologists and endocrinologists gathered three years ago to create EUROCONDOR: the European Consortium for the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy. EUROCONDOR is a European-funded research project that aims at testing a non-invasive and innovative treatment specifically targeting the earliest stages of the disease. Other objectives of the project include unravelling the molecular mechanisms involved in the onset of the disease, or identifying bio-markers that can predict the evolution of the condition in each patient.
By focusing on neuroprotection and prevention, the goal of EUROCONDOR is to improve the lives of millions of people living with diabetes, as well as dramatically lowering the healthcare and social costs of Diabetic Retinopathy. In 2014, approximately 400 million adults were living with diabetes, while another 180 were believed to be undiagnosed. The number of adults with diabetes is expected to reach 600 million by 2035. For more facts and figures about Diabetes, check the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas.
The EUROCONDOR project included a one-of-a-kind 2-year clinical trial involving 450 patients throughout Europe. With this year’s edition of World Diabetes Day, we are proud to announce that the clinical trial has been successfully completed: the final patients had their last visit and ophthalmologic examination at the end of October! The results are expected and will be made public by March of 2016. Learn more about the project on our webpage, check our partner IDF Europe’s newsroom for all the updates on Diabetes, or follow the news for #WDD and #EUROCONDOR on social media!