Deep Dive Into Obesity Phenotypes

Last week, in my capacity as a Strategic Advisor, I had the pleasure of attending the SOPHIA general assembly in Favrholm, just outside of Copenhagen.

SOPHIA stands for the Stratification of Obesity Phenotypes to Optimise Future Therapies, and consists of a large research consortium that includes thirty-one international members from academia, industry, and NGOs.

With funding support of around € 16 million from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), T1D Exchange, JDRF, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and Obesity Action Coalition, the SOPHIA research consortium aims to find better solutions to address obesity and reduce its consequences. 

The eight work packages range over a variety of issues ranging from technical challenges like creating a confederation of large harmonised databases to allow sophisticated analyses of phenotypes, trajectories and outcomes, specific projects on the relationship between obesity and diabetes (both type 1 and 2), exploration of surgical outcomes, to important work on better understanding the patient voice and incorporating their views and needs throughout the various projects. 

Now in its 3rd year, the progress in all work packages has been remarkable (despite the complications due to COVID) and one of our strategic recommendations has been to perhaps explore opportunities to identify and incorporate additional data sets, particularly in the areas of mental, cardiovascular, and reproductive health. Researchers working in these areas, who may be interested in contributing datasets to this initiative can contact the SOPHIA office via the project website.

Overall, this joint effort, guided by the patient voice, is certainly exciting and innovative and I look forward to several of the work packages presenting their findings during the 28th European Congress on Obesity in Maastricht later this week. 

Berlin, D