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Day procedure to slow progression of diabetes headed to clinical trial

A phase 2 clinical trial is currently exploring a new technique to slow the progression of type 2 diabetes. The simple outpatient surgery can be conducted in the early stages of diagnosis and delay the need for insulin shots.

Insulin is a vital hormone that helps us process glucose in the bloodstream to produce energy, but in patients with type 2 diabetes, the body begins to lose the ability to use insulin effectively. If left untreated, prolonged elevated blood sugar levels can lead to a range of serious health complications.

In the early stages of the disease, many patients can manage it with lifestyle and diet changes, or oral medications, but eventually it often progresses to the stage where regular insulin injections are needed. The new treatment, however, is designed to prevent or slow down the progression to injections.

The procedure targets the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine just past the stomach. This organ plays a key role in digestion, including regulating insulin and blood glucose levels. In patients with type 2 diabetes, the cells that line the duodenum have become damaged, and the trial’s hypothesis is that removing these cells helps healthy ones to grow back, improving the regulation of blood glucose levels.

Patients in the clinical trial would undergo an endoscopy to insert a device into the duodenum, which removes those dysfunctional cells with a series of electrical pulses. The procedure itself is only minimally invasive – it takes about an hour, it’s conducted under a general anaesthetic and the patient is discharged the same day.

Early results seem encouraging. Patients who have undergone the procedure in recent months have already seen their blood glucose levels drop. If success continues, we may have a new treatment for diabetes within a few years.

New participants are currently being enrolled for the clinical trial in the Los Angeles area. Eligible patients need to be between 22 and 65 years of age, have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last three to 10 years, and not have progressed to insulin injections.

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