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Keeping type 2 diabetes in remission: DiRECT extension

Project summary

The DiRECT trial is finding out whether a weight management programme, including a low-calorie diet, can put type 2 diabetes into remission. This project will extend DiRECT for a further five years, to see if this approach can keep type 2 in remission for the long-term. This work could potentially transform the way type 2 diabetes is managed in the future, and could have enormous benefits for people living with the condition.

Background to research

In 2013, we invested £2.5 million in DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial) to find out if a structured weight management programme, which uses a low-calorie diet, could put type 2 diabetes into remission.

The first year results of DiRECT showed that around half of those who tried the programme put their type 2 diabetes into remission. The second year results showed that 70% of those people were able to keep their type 2 diabetes in remission for another year. These findings are really promising, but there are still questions we need to answer about the long-term success of a weight management programme.

Research aims

The DiRECT extension will look at how participants who have lost weight and put their type 2 diabetes into remission maintain these improvements over a longer period of time. It will follow participants, and provide continued weight management support, for a further five years. This means researchers will be able to track the effects of their programme over a total period of seven years.

Anyone who gains weight will be given help to get back to a healthy weight. Those who don’t wish to carry on with the study will return to usual type 2 diabetes care from their GP.

The team will collect valuable information on long-term blood glucose control, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and quality of life. They’ll also look at which aspects of the programme work and are most important to help people keep weight off and stay in remission.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

The DiRECT trial is testing whether a weight management programme, delivered through GP care, can bring about type 2 diabetes remission. This extension will give us more understanding around the longer term benefits, to help ensure that any treatments of this kind offered to people with type 2 diabetes in the future are as effective as possible.

Working out how to maintain weight loss and type 2 diabetes remission could have enormous benefits for overall health and quality of life for people with type 2 diabetes. 

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