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Our Research Objectives

The Obelisk research teams aim to:
  • Explore the molecular mechanisms that cause or prevent the transition from normal weight to overweight or obesity during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and investigate how causal or associated factors interact in this process.
  • Develop and exploit COBRISC (Childhood Obesity Risk Score), a tool that can predict the likelihood of early onset childhood obesity more accurately than previous tools developed by Obelisk partners. COBRISC will use various information from Obelisk research, including molecular, familial, clinical, social, and environmental factors, to create a comprehensive risk score. This new generation of predictive models will be essential in preventing and treating childhood obesity.
  • Identify and analyse at least three new genes related to childhood obesity, building on recent discoveries made by Obelisk partners. By doing this, we hope to find new targets for drugs that can complement ones previously discovered.
  • To prevent childhood obesity in high-risk infants, identified using COBRISC, we will use targeted interventions based on the ELSI (ethical, legal and social implications)-by-Design 4P approach, considering vulnerable groups, gender, and socio-economic status. Additionally, we will implement cost-effective management programmes to treat obesity, decrease early obesity trajectories by 25%, achieve a 25% "recovery" among treated adolescents, and reduce adolescent treatment dropouts by 50%. Our overall success will be measured by a 35% decrease in the number of children with obesity who become adults with obesity.
  • Advance non-surgical treatments for obesity by evaluating the effectiveness of an existing drug, an agonist for Glucagon Like Peptide 1 receptor [GLP1R], in reversing childhood-onset obesity. The target will be patients with pathogenic mutations in genes known to cause obesity.
  • Disseminate and exploit best practices and policy guidelines based on the Obelisk results to prevent and treat childhood obesity. This includes education programs for the European population, patients with obesity and their families, health professionals, and researchers. Evidence-based guidelines and proposals will be shared with policymakers to improve obesity care. Additionally, Obelisk partners will facilitate networking and knowledge sharing with other projects to optimise results and develop joint activities.

Work Packages

Obelisk research is defined by eight work packages (WP) to meet these objectives, bringing together expert teams from across Europe.

Obelisk Results

Obelisk will produce several Key Exploitable Results, which are significant outputs from the research. These results will be disseminated to the scientific community, healthcare practitioners, European citizens, and policymakers, with varying distribution levels depending on their commercial sensitivity. They include:
  • Data catalogue and meta-review on the development of obesity, which includes social elements.
  • Well-defined childhood obesity trajectories.
  • Microsimulation models with health, social and economic outcomes.
  • ELSI-specific policy database and policy brief.
  • Novel prediction tool (Childhood Obesity Risk Score - COBRISC) and new biomarkers.
  • Novel genomic markers to diagnose and/or predict monogenic obesity in clinical practice.
  • New genes as targets for drug development.
  • Real-life evaluation of semaglutide treatment in patients with monogenic obesity.
  • Innovative and cost-effective intervention models that offer selective programmes to prevent or treat obesity. These programmes aim to decrease obesity-related perceived stigma and improve adherence for vulnerable groups, such as infants and children with high biological and/or socio-cultural risk of developing obesity, as well as adolescents with obesity from low-income families.
  • Educational tools for healthcare professionals and EU citizens.
  • Evidence-based policy guidelines for preventing and treating childhood obesity, including cost-benefit analysis.