Researchers in Leicester are investigating if a new medication can help to reduce the risk of heart disease for people with type 2 diabetes. The study is taking place locally at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC): Leicester, which is based at Leicester General Hospital.
Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high. It's caused by problems with the hormone insulin. People with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to suffer from disease of the heart and blood vessels than adults without diabetes.
The new medicine, called tirzepatide, is being compared to an approved diabetes medicine called dulaglutide. Previous research has confirmed that tirzepatide is effective for patients with diabetes as it lower the amount of glucose, and can help people lose significant weight. Researchers now want to find out if tirzepatide can also help protect against heart disease, making it a better overall treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes. The study is expected to last five to six years.
The study is now closed to recruitment in Leicester. Researchers at PRC: Leicester have recruited 10 participants, the first of which was just 13 days after opening the study, making it one of the top recruiting sites in the UK.
Steve Barsby, 69, of Loughborough, is one of the participants who joined the study through PRC: Leicester. Steve was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003. He explains: “I found out late, like many diabetics, and by that time neuropathy (nerve damage) had attacked my legs and feet. Foot ulcers and amputations have followed. However, I consider that I have been very lucky. It could have been a lot worse.”
During regular follow-up appointments at the foot clinic at Leicester General Hospital, Steve noticed many other patients receiving care for more serious complications caused by type 2 diabetes. He added: “I realised the disease is a killer.” When Steve heard about this study he took the decision to sign up to help future people living with diabetes. He explained: “I’ve had the disease for many years. If something comes along that will fight it I am more than happy to assist.”
Steve joined the study in June 2021 and has lost about a stone in weight and is already feeling fitter. He said: “Because I’m closely monitored I have become more confident that my health is getting better.”
Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine, University of Leicester, Clinical Director of the NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre: Leicester and Principal Investigator for the study, said: “I am grateful to participants like Steve for taking part and supporting our research. Through studies like this I am optimistic that we can significantly improve the care and outcomes for those living with type 2 diabetes, which ultimately improves quality of life.
“The team has worked really hard to offer the opportunity to join the study to eligible patients within the region, so I am proud that we have recruited the most participants in the UK.”
PRC: Leicester was launched in November 2020 and is one of five PRCs in England, dedicated to setting up and delivering late phase commercial clinical trials in the NHS at pace and scale. For more information, visit: https://local.nihr.ac.uk/prc/leicester/
For those interested in health research at Leicester’s Hospitals and who want to hear about opportunities to take part, sign up to Leicester’s Research Registry to receive regular email updates. Visit the website to join: www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/researchregistry
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Official press release no. 6989