King’s College Hospital is calling for Type 2 diabetics to volunteer for a clinical trial of a new treatment, Katherine Johnston writes…
The new REVITA procedure, which is given under general anaesthetic, involves using a small balloon filled with hot water to “reset” the gut lining and how it processes sugar.
Dr David Hopkins, who is leading the clinical trial, said: “We think this procedure has huge potential to tackle the fundamental causes of Type 2 diabetes and change its natural course. In doing so, we can help turn back the clock for patients.”
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, or the insulin it makes does not work properly. This causes glucose to build up in the blood and – if not managed properly – can cause serious complications.
Obesity is one of the biggest causes of Type 2 diabetes, but the illness is also influenced by environmental and genetic factors, with people of African and Asian descent more likely to develop the condition.
Type 2 diabetes can become progressively harder to treat over time. Patients often have to increase their medication or move onto regular insulin injections.
New research has shown that hormones produced in the gut also play a role in managing the body’s blood sugar levels.
In a process like exfoliation, the REVITA procedure gets rid of old cells in the gut lining that are not functioning as well and encourages the growth of new ones that process sugar better. It is hoped that the treatment can help diabetics delay the need for insulin injections by reversing the severity of the patient’s diabetes.
Kings College Hospital is looking for volunteers to take part in the on-going trial who are taking at least one type of oral diabetes medication but do not take insulin injections.
Results will be published in 2019 and, if successful, the treatment could be available for patients within the next few years on the NHS.
According to Southwark Council, more than 14,000 adults are living with diabetes in the borough, around six per cent of the population.
Dr Hopkins said: “Although we will inevitably be treating people with diabetes for a long time to come, at King’s we are at the forefront of looking for solutions for the epidemic.
“We are getting better at early diagnosis and helping people to live well and healthily with the condition.”