Laboratory of Diabetology

Alina Babenko, MD, DSc
Head of Laboratory, Deputy Director of Endocrinology Institute for Academic Affairs

The Laboratory of Diabetology was established at Almazov Centre in March 2011 as the Research Laboratory for Vascular Complications of Diabetes Mellitus. In December 2013, it was renamed as the Research Laboratory of Diabetology to cater to the need of growing scope of research.

Ongoing research

The laboratory has been implementing project No. 17-75-30052 “Development of personalized therapy of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in order to reduce cardiovascular risks” with the support of the Russian Science Foundation.

The scientific importance of this project is to obtain information about the most significant predictors for optimizing response to the various options of weight correction and each group of antidiabetic drugs. The project assesses the effectiveness of using psychological, hormonal, phenotypic and genetic predictors of response to therapy in different groups of weight-reducing and antihyperglycemic drugs based on analysis of databases, clinical studies and data from our own research. It investigates the effects on dynamics of cardiovascular risk markers (state of the vascular wall, 2D stress-ECG, markers of fibrosis, inflammation) and clinical outcomes as well as the effect of different groups of weight-reducing and antidiabetic drugs on dynamics of molecular-genetic markers of vascular injury, fat metabolism and gut microbiota.

The automated information system for the selection of drug therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes based on a personalized approach is being created together with the developers from TechLAB. The system is based on predictors and algorithms developed by the specialists of the Endocrinology Institute and based on the modern research data and recommendations for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes.

The specialists of the laboratory also conduct experimental studies. In particular, they evaluate cardiac protection effects of different groups of antidiabetic drugs on the model of myocardial infarction in vivo, in animals with experimental type 2 diabetes mellitus. They also study the effects of different groups, doses and treatment duration of antidiabetic drugs on the extent of proliferation/apoptosis of insulin- and glucagon-producing pancreatic cells in age-related animals with experimental type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The laboratory conducts research on new diagnostic methods for diabetology. It participates in interdisciplinary research using innovative technologies developed by specialists of Saint Petersburg University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. The joint project focuses on the development of new optical methods for determination of blood biochemical parameters based on terahertz spectroscopy.

In collaboration with the Center of Laser Medicine of First Pavlov State Medical University, the laboratory conducts research on skin advanced glycation end products in patients with diabetes mellitus using a non-invasive diagnostic method – autofluorescence spectrometry. The application of this method to assess the risk of diabetes complications is studied in the laboratory.

Clinical practice

The endocrinology divisions of Almazov Centre are the clinical sites of the laboratory. The laboratory specialists act both as attending and consulting doctors at the Diagnostic Centre and other specialized divisions. They provide outpatient consultations and referrals for hospitalization where required.

Training and education

The Institute of Endocrinology holds annual educational courses for doctors specializing in endocrinology:

  • postgraduate cycles (Osteoporosis, Adrenal Gland Disease, Selected Issues of Endocrinology);
  • certification cycles (Topical Issues of Endocrinology, Gender Incongruence — Endocrine Aspects).