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£2.2 million NewDAWN project to help more people go in to remission

We’ve joined forces with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to fund a new £2.2 million project, called NewDAWN, led by Professors Susan Jebb and Paul Aveyard at the University of Oxford to give more people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the chance of going into remission.

A GP wearing a blue dress, with a stethoscope around her neck sitting at a desk, facing the camera, talking to a patient with her back to camera

Our type 2 diabetes remission research

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes once meant the start of a lifelong journey of learning to live with a serious condition that can have a big impact on health and wellbeing. But thanks to our ground-breaking DiRECT trial, we now know that remission from type 2 diabetes is possible for some people.

The striking DiRECT results inspired NHS England’s low-calorie diet programme, designed to help people living with overweight or obesity and a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes to lose weight and go into remission. This means that their blood sugars are in the normal range and they no longer have to take medication for their diabetes. This is now being offered in 21 areas across England.

The NHS England low-calorie diet programme, like the DiRECT trial, involves replacing usual foods, for a short time, with nutritionally balanced, low-calorie 'soup and shake' products. It's off to a great start in helping people lose the weight needed to go into remission. But we know that this particular approach isn’t suitable for everyone and others find it hard to fit in with their lifestyle. So not all people with a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes have the same chance of remission.

£2.2 million NewDAWN project to help more people go in to remission

We held a workshop with world-renowned researchers, from across our Diabetes Research Steering Groups and beyond, healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes to explore how we could increase the number of people going into remission. They recognised that for people living with overweight or obesity, weight loss is really important. The group recommended that we need to work out how to help as many newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes as possible to find a diet that is safe, effective and suited to their individual needs. So we took action to fill this research gap.

With £2.2 million of funding from NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research project and Diabetes UK, Professors Susan Jebb and Paul Aveyard, at the University of Oxford, are leading the NewDAWN research programme. The aim is to develop a new nationwide NHS support service that offers a range of weight loss diets for people with overweight or obesity and newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is so that every person can find one that is right for them and have the best possible chance of going into remission.

Over five years, Professor Jebb and her team will work with people with type 2 diabetes to identify up to four effective weight loss programmes. They will then train healthcare professionals to help people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and living with overweight or obesity to find the programme that’s right for them and support them to lose weight. This might involve trying more than one diet.

The researchers will evaluate how well this new support service works and its costs. If it helps more people go into remission and the cost to the NHS is justified, it will be prepared for roll out nationally across the NHS. 

Hear from the experts about NewDAWN

Watch Professor Jebb explain the ambitions of the project.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson is Director of Research at Diabetes UK. She said:

We are delighted to be partnering with the NIHR to fund the next critical step in our mission to make type 2 diabetes remission a reality for the many and not the few.

People with diabetes, healthcare professionals and researchers provided us with valuable insights into what is needed to help more people with type 2 diabetes to go into remission. With the NIHR we are acting on these recommendations and making a significant investment into the future of remission services.

We hope Professor Jebb’s research will result in new support services for the thousands of people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each year in the UK, giving them the best opportunity to lose weight and go into remission.”

Professor Susan Jebb is Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University of Oxford. She said:

We are so excited at this opportunity to pioneer a new approach to supporting people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight, because we know that successful weight loss gives a good chance of achieving remission.  NewDAWN is a new way of thinking about weight loss because rather than just offering one treatment, it recognises that there are many ways to lose weight and we need to help people find the right diet for them.

If we are successful, we will have a new model of care which could help others living with obesity too.  By partnering directly with NHS England we have the best chance of developing something that can work in routine care, so if it is successful it can be rapidly rolled out to improve the care of people with type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Elaine Hay is Programme Director of Programme Grants for Applied Research at the NIHR. She said:

Professor Jebb's work has the potential to be truly life-changing for people with type 2 diabetes, and NIHR is really excited to be partnering with Diabetes UK to support this ground-breaking research. Being able to work alongside patients and tailor these weight loss programmes so they work for different people is crucial as it will allow as many patients to benefit as possible.”

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