Novo Nordisk leads SOPHIA aims to improve obesity treatment

29 leading international partners from civil society, academia and industry have joined forces to better understand obesity and optimize future treatment.

Obesity may be a worldwide pandemic presently impacting about 150 million individuals in Europe and 650 million people all over the world. Obesity complications are common, but we cannot yet predict who will develop any of the 200 known complications of obesity.

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Besides, there are inadequate predictors for who will respond to the treatments of obesity. SOPHIA will identify, characterize and stratify clinically meaningful subpopulations of patients with obesity to match the proper treatment for the proper person at the proper time.

SOPHIA will supply evidence-based categorization of predictors for obesity complications and response to obesity treatment while also identifying and charting models for sustainably developing treatment pathways that may be valuable for patients, healthcare systems, researchers and clinicians.

“Our mission within SOPHIA is to enable healthcare professionals to reliably predict the complications of obesity and who will respond to treatment,” said Prof Carel le Roux, coordinator of SOPHIA and obesity physician at the Diabetes Complications Research Centre at University College Dublin.

Obesity, a global epidemic

SOPHIA Project Leader Dr Marianne Ølholm Larsen Grønning of Novo Nordisk, says: “Obesity is a complex, chronic disease and there is still a lot we do not know, both about the biology of the disease itself and how treatment can improve the lives of patients with obesity. SOPHIA is an important step towards understanding obesity better. The collaboration between excellent contributors from academia, industry and associations holds a big promise that we can deliver strong and unique results.”

The voices of individuals living with obesity are at the heart of SOPHIA through the establishment of a Patient Advisory Board. It’ll make sure that patients’ insights, opinions and desires are placed at the core of SOPHIA and interwoven into the multiple layers of the study. The research group will use its searchings 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. SOPHIA has been granted €16 million in funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – a joint undertaking of the EU Commission and also the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA); JDRF; the Obesity Action Coalition; and T1D Exchange.

Some of the methods used in SOPHIA will be:

  • Creating a database
  • Conducting analysis
  • Conducting in-depth qualitative methods with patients to identify their perceptions and perspectives on obesity diagnosis and treatment
  • Finding a shared value with all stakeholders to ensure better treatment of people living with obesity
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