Profile of the Working Group

Currently, there are more than 7 million patients with type 2 diabetes in Germany. Every day, new cases are diagnosed and many patients don’t even know about their diagnosis. Apart from strong genetic factors, an individual‘s lifestyle plays an important role for onset and development of this metabolic disorder. Severity, course, responsiveness to treatments and the occurrence of comorbidities and complications are highly variable from patient to patient. Therefore, our working group investigates pathogenesis, prevention and therapy of type 2 diabetes, its comorbidities and complications.

As a member of the German Center of Diabetes Research (DZD) we contribute to single- and multicenter observational and clinical intervention trials and also cooperate with other DZD facilities of the DIfE. DZD studies aim for a precise phenotypical description of type 2 diabetes, but also an effective (dietary) prevention and treatment.

About 30 percent of all type 2 diabetes patients do not show a positive family history for their disorder. Their major pathogenetic factors are unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity. In general, dietary treatment is the gold standard for interventions in new-onset and early type 2 diabetes. Roughly 40 % of all type 2 diabetes patients are normal- or slightly overweight, but not obese.

Therefore, just losing weight is not a suitable therapeutic option for all patients. Apart from that, one must consider, that most patients with type 2 diabetes are elderly people, in which weight reduction can have negative side effects in the long term. Thus, with our observational and interventional studies, we want to investigate the effects of specific dietary patterns for precisely defined subgroups of patients and provide a valuable contribution for the development of personalised treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Professor Pfeiffer as head of the working group does also take care of patients at the Charité hospital (Medical Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutritional medicine), which serves as an interface between research and clinical practice. The combined clinical ward for patients and study subjects is located at the Charité-Campus Benjamin Franklin.