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Researchers from Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences are to lead a new £2.2 million project aimed at giving more people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the chance of going into remission.

Close up of a patient receiving a finger prick blood glucose test

Professors Susan Jebb and Paul Aveyard, from the BRC’s Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle Theme, will be joining forces with Diabetes UK on the five-year NewDAWN project, which is also being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Professor Jebb aims to create a new NHS support service for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who are overweight or living with obesity, so they can try out different weight loss programmes and find the one that’s right for them.

Once, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes meant having to learn to live with a lifelong serious medical condition. But research has shown that remission from the condition is possible for some people, and has inspired NHS England’s low-calorie diet programme.

Remission means that patients’ 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. However, this low-calorie ‘soup and shake’ approach is not suitable for everyone and others find it hard to fit in with their lifestyle.

NewDAWN aims to find a diet that is safe, effective and suited to individual needs and so increase the number of people going into remission.

The aim is to develop a new nationwide NHS support service that offers a range of weight loss diets for people who are overweight or are living with obesity and are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

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 find the programme that’s right for each patient and support them to lose weight. This might involve trying more than one diet.

Professor Jebb 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.’

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.

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

‘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.’

Watch a video of Professor Jebb explaining the project

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