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Home > About JDRF & Our Impact > Our research > Research projects > Testing a drug for type 2 diabetes in people with type 1
Semaglutide is a drug given to adults with type 2 diabetes, which helps lower their blood sugar levels. Timothy is testing whether semaglutide can help children and young people with type 1 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels alongside insulin. His goal is to make managing type 1 easier and more successful.
Semaglutide helps reduce blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of insulin released, preventing glucagon release, and slowing how fast the stomach empties. Semaglutide is given by a weekly injection under the skin, just like insulin injections. It is a safe and effective treatment for adults with type 2 diabetes. You may have heard of semaglutide under the brand name Ozempic.
It’s important to try to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range to help prevent long-term complications of diabetes such as eye, kidney, nerve and heart damage. But most children and young people with type 1’s blood sugar levels are often too high, despite their best efforts. Timothy thinks that semaglutide could help these young people stop their blood glucose levels being too high, helping to limit the long-term damage to their organs.
Timothy and his research team started by working with young people living with type 1 to plan a clinical trial of semaglutide. We are supporting Timothy to run a Young Person’s Advisory Group to help him develop each stage of his clinical trial.
Once all the planning is complete, the researchers will run their clinical trial at four hospitals in Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester and Sheffield. 230 people with type 1 aged 10-24 years old will take part in the clinical trial. The research team will give the participants semaglutide for six months, plus their usual insulin treatment.
To find out whether semaglutide can help treat type 1, Timothy will observe how the drug affects the blood sugars of the young people who were taking it. He hopes the results will show that semaglutide can help improve blood sugar levels in young people with type 1 diabetes.
If semaglutide does help people with type 1, the researchers will begin a campaign to encourage the NHS to offer the drug to all young people with type 1 who need it. He will do this by holding public meetings to discuss his findings. He will also recruit key diabetes stakeholders – including healthcare professionals, charities like JDRF and people with type 1 – to support his campaign. Having a drug to help children and young people with type 1 keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range will hopefully help reduce the number of them who develop diabetes complications.
Clinical trials are a crucial part of ensuring a drug is safe for people to take. We are funding Professor Colin Dayan’s clinical trial platforms, which help improve the efficiency of clinical trials. This means more potential drugs can be tested, improving our chances of finding effective treatments and cures for type 1.
This award will help to fund the next generation of immunotherapy research, enabling more efficient clinical trials, in more locations, so that promising treatments can reach people sooner.
This project aims to overcome two major roadblocks to developing and licensing immunotherapies for people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Dr Bewick is exploring ways to improve the health, performance and number of beta cells in the body, so that people with type 1 can be less reliant on insulin pumps and injections – or even, one day, live without them completely.
This project is looking at a new way to turn stem cells into beta cells in the lab, to better understand what conditions make this process happen efficiently.