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Celebrating thousands of teens involved in landmark Type 1 diabetes research

Sophie with her research nurse Sara

Diabetes UK, together with the British Heart Foundation and JDRF, have supported a landmark global study looking at Type 1 diabetes in teenagers.

It involved an incredible 4,460 teenagers across three continents, and the results have just been published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

What was the research about?

The international research team, spread across the UK, Canada and Australia, wanted to understand more about long-term complications from diabetes – such as heart and kidney problems – and how they develop in people with Type 1. They also wanted to see if there’s anything we can do during teenage years to decrease the risk of developing these complications later in life.

The trial, called AdDIT, set out to find out if taking drugs that lower blood pressure (called ACE inhibitors) and cholesterol levels (called statins), could reduce the risk of kidney, eye and heart disease in young people with Type 1 diabetes.

The results suggest that neither ACE inhibitors nor statins significantly reduce the risk of complications. But there are some signs that the drugs might have smaller benefits, which need to be investigated further. The research team also believe that the impact of the treatment might be felt further into the future, as seen in some other clinical trials.

While the treatments haven’t been shown to be effective, the research will improve our understanding of how Type 1 diabetes progresses in teenagers and open up new avenues of research into how to potentially prevent complications in the future.

Amazing international collaboration

Professor David Dunger, lead researcher of the AdDIT trial in the UK, said:

“This has been an amazing international collaboration involving over 4,000 young people with Type 1 diabetes and many collaborating physicians across three continents. Studies in adolescence are said to be challenging, but our young participants were fantastic, following a complex protocol and demonstrating that the interventional drugs were well tolerated for up to four years.”

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said:

“We need to find ways to reduce the risk of complications for young people with Type 1 diabetes. The AdDIT study has achieved excellent engagement amongst young people across three continents. While more work is needed to reach definitive answers, we’d like to take this moment to celebrate with everyone who has supported this research. Thank you for your dedication.”

Hope for future benefits

Sophie, a participant of the AdDIT trial since 2010, believes that taking part was beneficial for her and that every trial, no matter the final outcome, helps us understand more about the condition (she is pictured above with her diabetes nurse Sara).

“I love taking part in the research and I’m really pleased to do what I can to support other people with Type 1 diabetes and help potentially find a cure. I can’t believe I’ve been doing it this long!  By helping to give blood and urine samples, DNA and data to the AdDIT study, I’m hoping it will benefit people with Type 1 diabetes in the future. The study also helps me with regulation of my blood glucose levels. I hope I can keep meeting with the research team for many years to come.”

Sophie, AdDIT trial participant.

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