New biomarkers can lead to breakthrough in diabetes research
With the discovery of two new biomarkers, Olof Eriksson, researcher in translational imaging, may lead the way to the scientific breakthrough that will enable curative drugs and personalised treatments for diabetes.
Diabetes is a global and fast-spreading disease that is rapidly consuming an increasing share of healthcare resources. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes - when the immune system breaks down the body’s insulin-producing beta cells - has doubled in the last 30 years, but despite intensive efforts, no cures are known. A scientific challenge has been to determine the actual effects of potential treatments, but now Olof Eriksson, researcher in translational imaging, has identified biomarkers that could enable a breakthrough for the field.
“To choose the best treatment available for type 1 diabetes, a doctor needs to know how the patient's insulin-producing beta cells develop over time, but performing the necessary biopsies is both complicated and hazardous. Our team has now developed a biomarker which, by adding small doses of radioactive tracers, quickly and without risk determines the number of active beta cells in the pancreas. Already this spring, we will begin clinical trials, and if things go as planned, we hope to lay the foundation for both new drugs and personalised treatments,” states Olof Eriksson, Associate Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University's Faculty of Pharmacy.
In parallel, diabetes researchers around the world are looking for answers to exactly what causes our immune system to attack insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Here, too, Olof Eriksson hopes to break new ground via a contrast agent that with PET scanning can visualize how immune cells attack the beta cells. With a recently approved multi-million grant from the Swedish Research Council, the work is off to a flying start, and the project is already arousing interest far beyond the Eriksson Lab.
“For diabetes research, it would enable combined examinations, faster responses and a more efficient process towards a curative treatment. But the development of immunotherapies against tumor diseases also depends on biomarkers that bind to immune cells. Today, we cooperate with several research groups within oncology at Uppsala University, and have also initiated collaboration with several pharmaceutical companies while waiting for our biomarkers to be validated.”
Uppsala University's environment for PET-imaging early established itself among the world's foremost: Here, the first PET-biomarker for Alzheimer's disease was developed. Sweden's first PET/MR camera was installed here – and the development continues in close collaboration with SciLifeLab. Today, the environment facilitates research all the way from chemistry via pre-clinics to humans, and Olof Eriksson emphasizes its importance for his own group's many successes. Still, he identifies additional potential.
“This is a fantastic environment to work in with several groups that have both cutting-edge expertise and significant funding. What we lack is a common structure in which we can optimise our flow of knowledge, generate new ideas and with united efforts achieve success in the major calls. Currently, we have discussions and plan workshops in order to map the conditions for a potential PET center. If we succeed, I am convinced that it will add great value for all of us.”
- Uppsala University’s Uppsala University’s Preclinical PET-MRI platform bridge the gap between basic research in medicinal chemistry and clinical application of molecular imaging.
- The platform work in close collaboration with collaboration with the Uppsala University Hospital PET centre.
- The platform is part of a pilot initiative to develop a national resource for PET-MRI within SciLifeLab.
Olof Eriksson, Associate Senior Lecturer
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt
Present your research at SciFest 2022 – Registration open now
2021-11-01The Uppsala science festival SciFest returns to Fyrishov. 10–12 March 2022, researchers from Uppsala University and thousands of curious schoolchildren and adults will meet for a variety of activities, shows and lectures. As a researcher at the Facul...
SEK 25 million to ENABLE-2 and continued development of new antibiotics
2021-10-06ENABLE, the EU initiative for antibiotic development led by Uppsala University, has received SEK 25 million from the Swedish Research Council to start up ENABLE-2. "We are already accepting project proposals and hope that this investment will inspire...
MSI Lab Per Andrén joins SciLifeLab Spatial Omics
2021-09-16With the launch of national resource Spatial Omics, SciLifeLab consolidates Sweden's advanced position in one of the hottest fields of science. "This gives us the capacity to extract even more detailed knowledge from cell and tissue analyses," states...
Webinar about your possibilities at Testa Center
2021-09-14Testa Center provides Uppsala University’s researchers access to state-of-the-art equipment for drug and bioprocess development. At the webinar "Academic research in the Testa Center – A testing bed for upscaling your biological innovations", you w...
Andrea Benediktsdottir is awarded the Iris Scholarship for aspiring women
2021-08-13Andrea Benediktsdottir, PhD student at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, is awarded the Iris Scholarship for aspiring women in Sweden. With the scholarship, Andrea Benediktsdottir will participate in an interdisciplinary course focusing on antib...
SciLifeLab – A national research infrastructure in Uppsala
2021-06-18SciLifeLab is a national research infrastructure in life sciences with Uppsala University as one of four host universities. Today, SciLifeLab conducts operations at most major Swedish universities. ...
New research to improve use of amphiphilic drug molecules
2021-05-19By exploring the aggregation properties of different amphiphilic molecules in microgels, Yassir Al-Tikriti, PhD student at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, aims to provide tools and knowledge of importance for future cancer therapies and antide...
New seminar series puts focus on Swedish drug development
2021-04-19This spring semester, SweDeliver and NextBioForm invite to online lunch seminars. Welcome to experience frontline research with a focus on industrial challenges in drug delivery and the development of biologically based drugs. ...
Olof Eriksson receives SEK 1,3 million for PET project
2021-04-19Olof Eriksson, researcher in translational imaging, is awarded a Project Grant of SEK 1,303,000 from Diabetes Wellness Sweden for his project GPR44 as a PET marker for measuring beta cell mass in human. ...
New biomarkers can lead to breakthrough in diabetes research
2021-04-19With the discovery of two new biomarkers, Olof Eriksson, researcher in translational imaging, may lead the way to the scientific breakthrough that will enable curative drugs and personalised treatments for diabetes. ...
Apply for funding for postdoc exchange between the Faculty of Pharmacy and SLU
2021-04-19Funding is now available for two postdoc exchanges, one hosted by the Faculty of Pharmacy or Fauculty of Medicine at Uppsala University, and one by a department at the SLU Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science ...
Here you can read more research news at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry