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Find out the latest news about JDRF's research and fundraising events.

Displaying heart disease


Urine test could predict heart and kidney disease in type 1 adolescents

JDRF-funded researchers have found that a simple urine test could help identify which young people with type 1 diabetes may be at risk of heart and kidney disease.

The team, led by Professor David Dunger from the University of Cambridge, discovered that raised levels of a protein called albumin in the urine were linked to a higher risk of these diseases among adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Albumin is a protein that is normally found in the blood, and only seen in low levels in the urine, so high levels can be a sign that the kidneys are not working as they should. Above a certain level, the condition is called albuminuria, which is already known to be a risk factor for heart and kidney disease.

However, Dunger’s team found that for young people with type 1 diabetes, even high levels within the ‘normal’ range (those in the top 30 per cent of cases) were likely to be associated with early signs of these diseases. These included artery stiffening, and abnormal blood cholesterol levels and kidney function.

This means that screening for albumin in the urine – and at lower levels than previously considered undesirable – could allow young people to access treatment much earlier.

According to Dunger, ‘The next step will be to see if drugs used to treat heart and kidney disease – such as statins and blood pressure lowering drugs – can help prevent kidney and heart complications in this young, potentially vulnerable population.’

The research, published in the journal Diabetes Care, forms part of AdDIT (Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes Cardio-Renal Intervention Trial), a worldwide study looking at preventing young people with type 1 diabetes from developing heart and kidney disease.


New trial seeks REMOVAL of complications threat

The first patient has just been recruited to join a new, large-scale JDRF-funded clinical trial. This major international research project is seeking to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 1 diabetes.

The five-year, £4.25m trial, is being led by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee. Known as REMOVAL (Reducing with MetfOrmin Vascular Adverse Lesions in type 1 diabetes), the trial will investigate the effects of a drug called metformin on people aged 40 and over who have type 1 diabetes.

People involved in the trial will be asked to continue their regular insulin treatment but will be asked to add a daily tablet to their treatment regimen. 
They will be given either metformin or a placebo.

Metformin has been used for 40 years in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although it works by preventing high blood glucose levels, evidence also exists that it can improve blood vessel function, reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and improve the action of insulin on the liver, even for people without diabetes. Small clinical trials using metformin with people with type 1 have been conducted in the past, but the studies have been too small to draw any firm conclusions. The REMOVAL trial should be able to provide doctors with a definitive answer as to whether metformin can help people living with type 1.

Over three years, researchers will monitor the effect of the treatment on the participants’ glucose control, and monitor if there is an effect on their ‘intima media thickness’: a measure of cardiovascular health that can help to predict the likelihood of heart attacks or strokes. This is measured using a simple ultrasound scan of the neck.

Ten hospitals around the UK are participating in the trial, along with sites in Australia, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands. The research team need to recruit 499 more people from around the world (about 250 from the UK) to get involved in the trial.

So if you have type 1, are over 40, and would like to help find out if adding a simple pill to type 1 treatment could help prevent cardiovascular complications of diabetes, why not find out if a hospital near you is involved in the study?


Getting teenagers involved in research

Here at JDRF we receive lots of enquiries from people interested in taking part in clinical trials. This is great news. All the valuable fundraising by our supporters would not be nearly as useful if there were not lots of willing volunteers to test new treatments, drugs and devices. 

We also know that trials of new treatments for teenagers are particularly important as it can be a really difficult time to maintain good glucose control,  due to changing hormones and lifestyles. However, teenagers can be a tricky group to pin down for clinical trials, which is where you may be able to help.

If you know someone between 10 and 16 years old with type 1 who might be interested in taking part in a trial, read on.

The Adolescent type 1 Diabetes cardio-renal Intervention Trial (AdDIT) is a clinical trial being led by Professor David Dunger, who is a Professor of Paediatrics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the work is to prevent the progression of cardiovascular and renal complications in high-risk adolescents. 

Blood pressure and fat lowering drugs are frequently used in adults with Type 1 diabetes to reduce risk for future complications. They may also be of value during adolescence when HbAIc  levels may be less well controlled. We plan to find out whether these drugs have a role in the treatment of adolescents through a large trial involving nearly a thousand young people. 

These teenagers will take part in the project which will take place in the UK, Australia and Canada.  It will take five years to complete and is currently the only study of its kind. The trial is in its third year but more volunteers are still needed.

In an initial screening stage, volunteers will be asked to provide urine samples. Depending on the levels of protein these samples contain, they may then be invited to take part in the main study testing the effects of blood pressure and cholesterol lowering drugs. To make it even easier to take part, the young people involved in the trial will have study visits arranged to coincide with their routine clinic visits so far as possible, and may even have their routine diabetes care provided through a special AdDIT clinic, so that they do not have the inconvenience of two clinic visits. Others will be invited to take part in a comparison study which will not involve taking any study drugs but in which they will be closely followed up.

Screening is taking place in these regions of the UK:

Aylesbury and High Wycombe [email protected]
Birmingham [email protected]
Birmingham (Heartlands) [email protected]
Bristol [email protected]
Bolton [email protected]
Cambridge [email protected]
Ipswich [email protected]
Manchester [email protected]
[email protected]
Newcastle and 
[email protected]
[email protected]
Northampton [email protected]
Norwich [email protected]
Oxford [email protected]
Reading [email protected]

[email protected]

Wigan [email protected]
West Suffolk [email protected]

Or you can also email the coordinating centre: [email protected]

There is a list of other type 1 diabetes clinical trials on our website with contact details so you can get in touch directly if you are interested. There are also a number of diabetes clinical research organisationsand databases listed on our website who can help you find suitable trials.