This article is the first in a series of pieces about Pilloxa and Sahlgrenska’s collaboration. Our Head of Marketing, Alexa Edstrom, sat down with research head Dr. Dimitrios Chantzichristos to discuss his upcoming research project and the use of digital components to support it.
When a curious researcher approached Pilloxa in 2021 about our solutions, we identified that we matched his research and data collection needs for an upcoming study he was hoping to conduct. Within the field of endocrinology, Dr. Dimitrios Chantzichristos and his team are working on finding answers for patients. Previous research has revealed treatment challenges in patients treated with both insulin and cortisone due to the opposing effects each has on glucose homeostasis and the need to adjust insulin treatment in relation to both cortisone and food intake in order to mimic the physiological endogenous profiles. If treated incorrectly, patients are at risk of developing hypo or hyperglycemia which can have serious consequences. No study to date has addressed this knowledge gap which affects those with diabetes and at the same time cortisone treatment because of Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, different types of cancers, Addison’s disease and more.
Speaking with Dimitrios, I can see his clear passion for health. His inspiration to get into healthcare was because he wanted to serve people. He emphasizes the importance of listening to them, communicating with them, and ultimately helping them. He describes helping patients as putting together pieces in a puzzle, which has an investigative element he loves on top of the altruistic. Endocrinology, or the study of hormones, caught his interest due to the fact that so many endocrine diseases are diffused all over the body – all cells interact with the hormones in order for us to feel well.
Dimitrios studied his internal medicine specialization in Greece at the University of Patras, but came to Sweden to pursue a specialization in hormone diseases where he ultimately found a home-base for research and practice at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. At Sahlgrenska, he found many interesting patients with disease “puzzles” that were very intellectually stimulating to treat. It also gave him the chance to work with great colleagues, professors, and researchers within endocrinology. He tells me that he remembers the pure happiness he felt the day that Sahlgrenska offered him a long-term position, it was the perfect opportunity for him to do both clinical research and treat patients. Not only does Dr. Chantzichristos want to help patients in Sweden, he wants his research to help patients across the world and in the future.
Today, Dr. Dimitrios Chantzichristos is a Senior Consultant in endocrinology and Chief Physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. His previous research has covered topics such as hematologic diagnosis, biomarker discovery for cortisol effect in the body, and early indicators of Addison’s disease in type 1 diabetes patients.
His team’s upcoming research will involve patients with Addison’s disease, which their past research has also examined. Addison’s disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, impacts patients due to their bodies not producing enough of certain hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone (source). Dr. Chantzichristos is very familiar with this patient group, as he works very closely with over 70 patients at his clinic in Gothenburg, Sweden. Many are open to participate in the upcoming study which is set to start in September of this year.
Digital components are essential to the study as the biggest challenge with these patients is to monitor many things at the same time. It is critical to measure fluctuations in dosing between treatments, when meals have been eaten, and other lifestyle factors. By using a continuous glucose monitor and Pilloxa’s solutions, successful data collection will hopefully be achieved.
The importance of this study is that its results will be relevant to all patients treated with both insulin and cortisone, which in Sweden alone is around 10,500 patients a year. The results will help shape recommendations on how to balance these two treatments in the presence of constantly changing factors such as timing of food, macronutrient distribution in food, physical activity, emotional stress and stressful events. By improving these treatments, the researchers believe that the risk of premature death that they have previously studied in this patient group will be reduced.
You can read more about the upcoming study in Pilloxa’s press release here: https://www.pilloxa.com/blog/pilloxa-provides-digital-patient-support-solution-for-type-1-diabetesaddisons-disease-trial-at-sahlgrenska-university-hospital
Follow Dr. Chantzichristos on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dimitrischantzichristos/