It’s not often that people with a serious illness can do something to help find a new and better treatment. But that’s the case with a new clinical trial being launched by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo (also known as the University at Buffalo) and the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter!
The co-leaders of the research team are Paresh Dandona, MD, of the Jacobs School and John Petrie, PhD, of the University of Glasgow. They are seeking patients who 1) have type 1 diabetes, 2) are aged 18 to 65, and 3), have a hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) that’s between 7% and 10%. The HbA1c test result reflects a person’s average blood sugar level over the preceding two to three months; an HbA1c level below 5.7% is viewed as normal; a level from 5.7% to 6.4% is considered prediabetes; and 6.5% and over indicates diabetes. The researchers want to find out whether people with type 1 diabetes who use insulin might do even better if they also take two drugs used in the care of type 2 diabetes — semaglutide (brand name Ozempic) and dapaglifozin (Farxiga) — or semaglutide alone.
The trial is designed to last one year and the researchers aim to recruit 114 patients. Half the volunteers will be treated at the Clinical Research Center of the Division of Endocrinology at the University at Buffalo; the others will be treated at the University of Glasgow/NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Research Facility.
According to Dr. Dandona, who has been studying new treatments for diabetes since 2011, “The ongoing challenge is that pronounced swings in blood sugars, from hyperglycemic to hypoglycemic, are pretty common, even in type 1 diabetes patients who have good glycemic control…. This has been our motivation: to conduct groundbreaking research that will allow for better blood sugar control by using non-insulin drugs in combination with insulin.” He points out that semaglutide and dapaglifozin are known to reduce body weight and systolic blood pressure. As a result, he says, “The potential benefits of triple therapy in type 1 diabetes could be multidirectional and immense.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved semaglutide and dapaglifozin for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Dandona hopes that his team’s research will change that. In March 2019, dapaglifozin was approved in Europe for treating type 1 diabetes; the commission giving the approval cited Dr. Dandona’s previous research.
Diabetes patients who are interested in participating are advised to call Jean Hejna at (716) 535-1850 or Zahid Sayeed at (716) 535-1853.
A freelance writer and editor based in the Chicago area, Gustaitis has a degree in journalism from Columbia University.