Maltese researcher proposes new mass screening tool to prevent diabetes blindness
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Maltese researcher proposes new mass screening tool to prevent diabetes blindness

A Maltese researcher is proposing a project focusing on developing a more effective mass screening tool to prevent blindness in those suffering from diabetes.

The project was proposed by George Azzopardi from the University of Malta and the idea was presented to a meeting of the EU Diabetes Working Group by MEP Therese Comodini Cachia.

The condition, called diabetic retinopathy (DR), is the second largest cause of blindness in Europe but if detected in time, it can be controlled to some extent.

Malta has a high incidence of DR and this is on the rise.

The working group, co-chaired by Dr Comodini Cachia, is made up of MEPs from several parties.

The condition, called diabetic retinopathy, is the second largest cause of blindness in Europe

Its meeting focused on research and was entitled ‘Diabetes: The Unmet Needs - Key Priorities for European Diabetes Research’.

Dr Comodini Cachia spoke of the challenges being faced by local researchers to obtain funding. These challenges included the fact that too much weight was being given to the industrial and economic potential of the research rather than its innovative and scientific aspects.

She said the latter was an important link for science breakthroughs in health to be made by the global scientific community.

Dr Comodini Cachia also called on Europe and member states to prioritise methods of prevention so as to ensure that diabetic persons have the best possible medical attention.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said new combinations of diabetes research with digital technologies were leading to innovative opportunities for treatment.

“I am convinced that personalised medicine will play an increasingly important role in the fight against diabetes. So I want Europe to lead the way,” he said.

The commissioner stressed the importance of providing more options for patients and keeping Europe at the forefront of new solutions in diabetes treatment.

The EU’s Horizon 2020 is funding 63 diabetes projects to the tune of €140 million.

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