A pair of mini-symposia on Friday, June 9, will illustrate how epidemiology and genetics are moving to the fore in diabetes research and treatment.
A Researcher’s Guide to Exploring Diabetes Genetic Data in the Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge Portal (11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.), which is part of the Epidemiology/Genetics track, will provide an eye-opening tour of the type 2-centric portion of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). The AMP is a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, several biopharmaceutical companies, and multiple nonprofit organizations that is managed through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
“The ultimate goal is to increase the number of new diagnostics and therapies while reducing the time and cost of developing them by identifying and validating promising biological targets for type 2 diabetes,” said Karen Molhlke, PhD, the member of the Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committee in the area of the Genetics .
“The T2D Knowledge Portal is a central repository for large human genetic datasets that allows anyone to view and interpret genetic variants associations,” she continued. “Tools will allow researchers to ask their own questions about these data. This mini-symposium is a demonstration of how to use those tools.”
The second Friday session is titled The History of the ADA Guidelines—Their Influence on the Study of and Clinical Practice in Complications in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes (12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m.).
“This is more than a history of ADA guidelines over the years,” said the member of the Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committee in the area of epidemiology, Alka M. Kanaya, MD. “This is an overview of how these guidelines have influenced the ways we have researched the complications of diabetes, as well as our clinical practice.”
Friday also brings a look at the current and future impact of mobile health applications in diabetes during the session mHealth – Friend or Bystander in Diabetes Management (2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.).
“This is a very clinically relevant look at how these technologies can help in diabetes management and health promotion,” said Dr. Kanaya, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s also relevant for anyone engaging in implementation science research and in new ways to better manage diabetes using personalized data collection. This is a new kind of technology for us to grapple with and employ.”
Saturday, June 10, brings a highly anticipated genetics symposium, Genome Editing in Islet Biology and Disease (1:45 p.m.–3:45 p.m.). Four speakers will explore different uses for CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology as both a research tool and a potential therapeutic approach.
“There’s potential to use CRISPR tools to understand how genetic variants function in diabetes, as well as the therapeutic potential,” said Dr. Mohlke, Professor of Genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This one tool has opened so many possibilities in research and therapeutics that we can’t begin to list them all.”
The Saturday symposium Sleep and Diabetes—What’s the Link, and What Can We Do About It? (4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.) will provide an overview of the epidemiology of connections between sleep disturbance and diabetes, the physiology of circadian rhythms and glucose homeostasis, and the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with diabetes.
Sunday, June 11, brings a symposium titled Gene Expression and Genome Regulation in Islets and Kidney (4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.). The session’s speakers will discuss the most recent data on the role of islet gene expression and epigenetic signatures, as well as genetic and epigenetic drivers in diabetic kidney disease.
The Epidemiology Interest Group will present a session on Monday, June 12, titled To Screen or Not to Screen for Diabetes (12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.)
“This spotlights the current debate in the scientific literature as well as the lay press,” Dr. Kanaya said. “The real question is whether we are benefitting the public by screening and whether or not prediabetes is a clinically meaningful construct.”
Another Monday symposium, Genetic Evidence for Causal Relationships in Diabetes (2:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m.), will offer insight into the use of genetic evidence to evaluate causal relationships in diabetes.
“We see relationships between metabolic traits and type 2 diabetes or maternal obesity and birthweight, but causal evidence can be harder to pin down,” Dr. Mohlke said. “We are now able to use genetic associations and gene expression to better understand causality in diabetes.”
Changes in the treatment of the complications of type 1 diabetes has had a measurable impact on morbidity and mortality over recent decades. And as more individuals with type 1 live 50 years and longer, lessons learned from their experience is changing the clinical care of today’s older population. These issues will be discussed during a Monday session titled Successes with Type 1 Diabetes Complications and Survival (4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.).
On Tuesday, June 13, the final symposium in the track is titled Prediabetes—Are We Missing Opportunities for Intervention and Risk Reduction (7:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m.). The session will feature the latest science on the pathobiology of prediabetes, as well as a discussion on the ways in which a prediabetes diagnosis provides an opportunity for diabetes prevention and changes in patient behavior.