History of Centro Internazionale Studi Diabete (the International Centre for the Study of Diabetes)
Italian-British Association for the study of diabetes mellitus and its complications.
The Association was founded in 1983 by a group of university professors, promoted by the interest of Prof Domenico Andreani, professor of Endocrinology at ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome, and the late Italian State Ambassador to the UK, Dr Roberto Ducci. The Association was created under the name of ‘Italian-British Association for the Prevention of Vascular Complications of Diabetes mellitus’ in twinning with a similar British institution called ‘Anglo-Italian Research for Diabetic Vascular Disease’.
In the following years, the number of members grew and relevant personalities from the academic and scientific world of Rome jointed the Association. In 1983, the first international initiative started with a series of concerts that the choir and orchestra of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London performed in Rome and other Italian cities under the auspices of the British Embassy. The proceeds from such events were donated to the Association, which used them according to its bylaws.
Year 1985 represented a marked step forward in the extent of the Association’s activities, which was also reflected in the amount of funds managed. During the year, Prof Guido Menzinger von Preussenthal, Professor of Metabolic Diseases at ‘Tor Vergata’ University of Rome, was elected President.
In 1986 the Association organised and participated in the ‘XXII Congress of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes’ and two Satellite Symposia: the ‘III International Symposium on Hypoglycaemia’ and the ‘VIII EASD European Post Graduate Course on Diabetes’. The Association continued its activities to strengthen diabetes research by funding research projects and related services and awarding fellowships, thanks also to a turnover reaching over 400 million liras in that year.
At the beginning of 1987, a matter of importance was the acquisition of premises that the Association rented, moving the head office to a more suitable location. Eleven fellowships were handed out during the year. In addition, the Association actively encouraged visits by talented foreign researchers and scientists to ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome, and during the year several readings by international scientific personalities were held under the auspices of the Association. Social offices were confirmed for a three-year term with Professor Menzinger von Preussenthal as President. During the year the Association organised and participated in the ‘1st International Congress on Diabetic Complications’ held in Rome at the head office of the National Research Council.
In 1988, following the expansion of activities in the field of diabetes, no longer limited to the study of vascular complications of the disease, it was decided to name the Association “Centro Internazionale Studi Diabete” (CISD). Throughout the year, the Association received new donations and funding and developed its scientific-cultural activities. This ranged over different areas, i.e., from the complications of diabetes to the study of the etiopathogenesis of the disease itself. New initiatives were agreed with the aim to foster collaborations. The link with the twin English Association was further strengthened. Considering the growth of the Association, it was decided to seek its legal recognition.
In 1989, CISD, in addition to promoting fellowships and scientific advisory activities, organised the First International Symposium on ‘Immunotherapy of Type 1 Diabetes’ at the Cattolica Sacro Cuore University in Rome.
During 1990, among various activities of the Association, it is worth mentioning an International Congress in Erice (Sicily), in collaboration with the University of Palermo. Also noteworthy in the same year was the exhibition organised by the Italian Cultural Institute of London held at Queen Mary and Westfield College on the Schola Medica Salernitana, to which CISD gave its patronage.
In 1991, CISD sponsored a National Symposium, held in Rome at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità on ‘Epidemiology and Prevention of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes’, organised in collaboration with the Chair of Endocrinology and the Institute of Hygiene of ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome. Data related to the ‘Eurodiab Subarea A’ programme of the European Community (Epidemiology of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes) were discussed herein and the different experiences of the Italian regions (Lombardy, Lazio, Sicily, and Sardinia) participating in this initiative were compared.
Since that year, CISD collaborated with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (USA) in training young doctors-scientists through tutorials and attendance at qualified laboratories abroad. The Association supported the activities of the Group for the Study of Diabetic Neuropathy ‘Neurodiab’ of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes with the organisation of congresses held in Düsseldorf 1991, Cork 1991, Bratislava 1992, and Istanbul 1993. CISD helped support the activity of the Roman Endocrinology Club, aimed at updating and developing the cultural activity of young doctors-scientists working in the field of diabetes, metabolism, and endocrinology.
As a crowning achievement of the activity conducted, the legal recognition of the Association was awarded in October 1990, testifying to the activity carried out in the past years, first as the Italian-British Association for the study of diabetes and its complications and since 1988 under the name of CISD. This recognition opened new possibilities for the development of the Association’s activities, particularly promoting relations with state agencies and universities.
From 1994 to 2000 CISD continued its activities of promoting research in the field of diabetes by expanding its collaboration with institutions outside Italy. Great prominence and scientific success were achieved in receiving research fundings from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (USA), the largest American Institution in terms of funding for juvenile diabetes research. In fact, two-year research grants were obtained in 1995, 1997 and 1999, aimed at the identification of diabetes susceptibility genes, in collaboration with other centres that participated in the programme, in particular the University of Oxford.
The international dimension of the Centre was also highlighted by a series of collaborations developed with the University of Washington in the United States and the University of Bucharest, with the Italian Society of Diabetes and the Italian Society of Endocrinology. CISD doctors-scientists participated in numerous national and international congresses, presenting their research data.
CISD established fellowships to be carried out in the field of research according to its bylaws. Among other initiatives, CISD co-organised the EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) Satellite Symposium, held in Vienna in 1996, entitled ‘New Perspectives on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes’. CISD also contributed to the organisation of the Symposia of the Diabetic Neuropathy Study Group of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes ‘Neurodiab’ in Stockholm in 1995 and in Baden-Vienna in 1996. A remarkable event for CISD was then the organisation of the ‘II World Congress on the Prevention of Diabetes and its Complications’, held in Fiuggi (Italy) in November 1999, which was the last international millennium event on diabetes.
Between 2000 and 2005, CISD further developed its position as a Centre, enabling and enhancing diabetes and metabolic research on a national and international level, positioning itself as one of the most relevant Centres in funding for diabetes research in Italy, thanks to the quantity of its publications. Of particular note was the collaboration with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (USA) on a project on type 1 diabetes, and with the American Diabetes Association, which funded CISD’s activities through a research grant in the field of type 1 diabetes genetics in Italy for three years (2001-2004).
In 2002, CISD supported the organisation of an international congress in Budapest as part of the European Neurodiab group, on the topic of the ‘diabetic foot’.
In 2003 CISD organised, in collaboration with Queen Mary College London, a Satellite Symposium of the International Congress of Diabetes in Paris on continuous blood glucose monitoring.
In 2004, CISD contributed to the organisation of a meeting, held in Viterbo (Italy), on the topic of sports and diabetes, a topic of great interest not only socially but also scientifically. Over the past five years, numerous fellowships have been established for medical researchers, dietitians, and health personnel, aimed at the study of diabetes and its complications. Despite the economic constraints experienced in Italy, CISD, thanks to the international relationships of its researchers, received research funding from foreign companies, particularly from Canada. Such research, conducted in collaboration with universities in Rome (Sapienza, Campus Bio-Medico and Tor Vergata), led to publications of considerable scientific interest.
Finally, CISD enhanced the collaboration with the Department of Diabetes and Metabolism at St. Bartolomew’s Hospital in London (Queen Mary College), on topics related to the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and implementation of new diabetes preventive therapies.
In the five-year period 2005-2010, CISD increased its educational-scientific activities through a series of initiatives aimed at updating general practitioners and specialists in diabetes. This was thanks to the organisation, as a Provider institution accredited by the Ministry of Health, of courses and conferences at regional and national levels on the most cogent topics of diabetes including, among others, the meeting on ‘The pathway and integrated management of type 2 diabetes’, the refresher course on ‘Current issues in the management of complications of diabetes’, ‘Diabetes and Obesity’, and the first conference on ‘New technologies in diabetes: costs and opportunities between public and private’.
In 2008, at the 44th European Congress of Diabetes held in Rome, CISD organised three Satellite Symposia entitled ‘Overview of trials in recent onset type 1 diabetes’, ‘Technology in the management of diabetes: new solutions for unsolved clinical challenges’, and “New paradigms in the management of diabetes’.
In more recent years, despite the global economic crisis, CISD has also obtained funding from the United States and Canada for clinical research programmes on type 1 diabetes to be carried out in Italy and has continued its collaboration with the Centre of Diabetes at Queen Mary College University of London through funding of research projects on the topic of adult stem cells and applications in diabetes. Fellowships were established for young researchers and the participation of physicians and other health personnel in national and international congresses on diabetes was funded. In the latter period, special interest has been given to studies on exercise as a therapeutic means of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The importance of physical exercise in the treatment of type 2 diabetes was definitely confirmed after the results of the 2002 Diabetes Prevention Program. This analysis highlighted the ability of physical exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes.
CISD, based on this knowledge and through the work of its members, refined the research on physical exercise by proposing the use of aerobic exercise along with anaerobic exercise that is prescribed, scheduled, and supervised. The results of this national and multicentre study, which CISD helped funding, demonstrated that better metabolic control and a reduction in vascular complications were achieved in patients treated with exercise. Finally, of particular note was the establishment of an international PhD fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases between Queen Mary College in London, the University of Ulm in Germany, and Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome, and in 2010 the funding of a fellowship for the School of Specialisation in Endocrinology at Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome. The scientific activity of CISD members in the years 2005-2010 is highlighted by publications in prestigious international journals with high impact index.
History of the 2010-2020 decade
Over the past 2010-2020 decade, CISD has co-organised the EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) Satellite Symposium at various European venues (Berlin in 2012, Barcelona in 2013, Vienna in 2014, Stockholm in 2015, Munich in 2016, Lisbon in 2017, Berlin in 2018, and Barcelona in 2019).
In 2015 CISD was also the promoter and organiser, together with other partners, of a conference on issues related to environmentally sustainable nutrition at the Earth Centre Theatre as part of the EXPO 2015 world event held in Milan.
Over the past decade, CISD has continued, as always, to promote research in the field of diabetes, both by establishing fellowships for medical researchers, dietitians, and health care personnel, and by funding the participation of physicians and other health care personnel in national and international diabetes congresses. The research activity, carried out by CISD members and the promising young doctors-scientists in whom the Association has invested, is highlighted by the numerous publications with high impact factor in accredited journals (see PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science sites).
Over the last two years (2021-2022) the COVID-19 pandemic has affected CISD and its activities. Nevertheless, research by investigators supported by CISD continued and relevant papers were published.