New anti-diabetic drug in university study

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

A promising new anti-diabetic drug that works in a unique new way and may reduce the need for insulin is being trialled in a new study by the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine.

The drug, developed by pharmaceuticals company Roche, has undergone its Phase One trials on hundreds of people with no indications of adverse side effects.

University of Adelaide obesity specialist and Head of the Discipline of Medicine, Professor Gary Wittert, said this drug targeted the liver and prevented it producing excess blood sugar. It also acted to enhance the use of blood sugars in muscle.

"The main objective is getting blood sugar low," Professor Wittert said. "With lower blood sugar there are less complications of diabetes and people's prognosis is better. Of course you can keep blood sugar down with massive doses of insulin, but the downside with insulin is inconvenience and weight gain."

Type 2 diabetes affects 8-12 % of the Australian population and, under current trends, this could rise to 20% over the next decade. Type 2 diabetes, once restricted mainly to adults, is now being seen in children.

"This is all consequent on growing levels of obesity," says Professor Wittert. "And it is already costing Australia $3 billion a year according to one estimate."

Professor Wittert's research group is looking for volunteers to take part in the 12-week Phase Two study into the safety and efficacy of the drug. Volunteers need to be aged 30-74 with Type 2 diabetes and to have been on a stable dose of Metformin for at least three months.

Those taking part will have an opportunity if they wish to continue using the drug for another two years, subject to certain criteria. Interest volunteers should call the Study Co-ordinator, University of Adelaide, School of Medicine on (08) 8222 4320.


Contact Details

Professor Gary Wittert
Head of Discipline of Medicine, Medical Specialties
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: 0409 411 789

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814