Researchers at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust have signed up the first UK patient to take part in a world-wide trial of a new medication that could help with the control of diabetes.

Experts based at the Cornwall Diabetes Centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital are leading the GRAND-306 Study in Cornwall which is looking at whether a new drug can be effective in better control of blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes. It’s part of a rapidly growing research culture at the Trust.

Helen Chenoweth, specialist diabetes research nurse said: “The study is looking for a very specific patient group. Across the world it will be following around 5,000 patients in 700 different centres. Here in Cornwall we are being asked to put forward just 5 patients.”

“We’re delighted we’ve recruited the first patient in the UK and have already consented three of the five participants we require,” added Helen. “Research studies rely on us being able to get them set up quickly and getting patients engaged, as clearly if there are benefits to be had from new treatments, like the pharmaceutical companies, we want to see patients get access to them as soon as possible.”

The team at the Diabetes Centre say their success in getting the research study running so quickly in Cornwall is due to the excellent response from local patients in participating in another study, called DARE (Diabetes Alliance for Research in England). This is looking at a number of factors around diabetes, including family history and most importantly is designed to allow researchers to contact individuals on the study to invite them to take part in others.

“It means we can be proactive in our recruitment to other trials,” explains Helen’s colleague, Terri Chant, another of the Centre’s specialist research nurses. “Any one with diabetes and who wants to help with research can take part in DARE, which has been running for a number of years. It’s a UK study with around 27,000 people signed up and in Cornwall we have nearly 1700 participants”

The GRAND-360 Study will be following patients for approximately 6 years, monitoring their progress over that time and in particular looking at their cardio-vascular health. It will include people whose blood sugar levels are not optimally controlled and who have already had a heart attack, stroke or circulatory problems, or are at risk of these illnesses. Due to the initial success in recruitment at RCHT it is likely the team will be allowed to recruit more patients to this and other studies.

“We are contacting patients from the DARE study if they are suitable for the study as we are only looking for a small number of participants and the requirements are quite precise,” says Helen. “However, if anyone with diabetes is interested in take part in the DARE study we’d be happy to hear from them, as the more research we can do, the sooner we can improve treatments.”

If you are interested in taking part in the DARE study, contact the specialist research nurses at the Diabetes Centre on 01872 254655