It is known that cystic fibrosis-related diabetes develops in half of adults with cystic fibrosis, and it is also known that metabolic diseases often start in childhood. Dr. Regina Molnár and her fellow researchers are trying to clarify its causes and develop screening methods. In December, Dr. Molnár was named the Best First-Year PhD Student at the Centre for Translational Medicine.
Dr. Regina Molnár started as a research student at the Heim Pál National Pediatric Institute during her medical studies and continued her research after graduation. Her supervisors are Dr. Klementina Ocskay and Dr. Andrea Párniczky. Dr. Párniczky coordinates the cystic fibrosis care at Heim Pál National Pediatric Institute. “They have been supporting my research for four years, I even wrote my thesis under their guidance. Initially, my research was related to asymptomatic COVID-19, and we changed my topic after graduation. I joined the CTM hybrid program, allowing me to continue working at Heim Pál alongside my research.”
Dr. Molnár's research topic is cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. She collaborates with another PhD student, Dr. Blanka Bódy. Since the metabolic disorder related to CF can manifest differently in patients, the researchers are interested in what other etiological factors are involved. “Heim Pál National Pediatric Institute has a huge register of children with CF, collecting data since 2018. This database shows that the metabolic disorder associated with cystic fibrosis can occur at very different ages. We also know that 50% of adult patients are certain to develop diabetes. It is also known that the onset of an abnormal glucose tolerance in some patients starts at the age of six, or even earlier."
“We aim to find out whether autoimmunity plays a role in developing diabetes in cystic fibrosis. To achieve this, we're conducting a meta-analysis examining the prevalence of beta-cell-specific autoantibodies in patients with cystic fibrosis. This study may help to decide whether patients should be screened in this context.” Opinions are still divided on this topic, but the work of the team might help clarify the situation.