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Three APC Investigators partner in an international obesity research consortium

APC Investigators, Dr Susan Joyce, Dr Orla O’Sullivan and Dr Harriet Schellekens, have joined 28 other leading partners from civil society, academia and industry from 12 countries to better understand obesity and optimise future treatments.

The international, public-private research consortium ‘SOPHIA’, (Stratification of Obese Phenotypes to Optimize Future Obesity Therapy), aims to improve risk assessment of complications of obesity and predict treatment response for people with obesity.

Obesity is a global pandemic currently affecting around 150 million people in Europe and 650 million people worldwide. Obesity complications are common but we cannot yet predict who will develop any of the 200 known complications of obesity. Moreover, there are insufficient predictors for who will respond to obesity treatments. SOPHIA will identify, characterise and stratify clinically-meaningful subpopulations of patients living with obesity to match the right treatment for the right person at the right time.  SOPHIA will provide evidence-based classification of predictors for obesity complications, and response to obesity treatment, while also identifying and charting models for sustainably developing treatment pathways that will be valuable for patients, healthcare systems, researchers and clinicians.

The voices of people living with obesity will be at the heart of SOPHIA through the establishment of a Patient Advisory Board. It will ensure that patients’ insights, opinions and wishes are placed at the core of SOPHIA and interwoven into the multiple layers of the study. The research group will use its findings to contribute to a more patient-centric and equitable narrative around obesity and its multiple impacts on individuals from both a social and medical perspective. It all starts with obesity being a chronic disease, not something people choose to live with.

The €16 million in funding for this 5-year project has been granted from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA); JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation); the Obesity Action Coalition; and T1D Exchange.  SOPHIA is being coordinated by Prof. Carel le Roux, obesity physician at the Diabetes Complications Research Centre at University College Dublin.  SOPHIA Project Leader is Dr Marianne Ølholm Larsen Grønning of Novo Nordisk.

Read more via Silicon Republic.