Type 2 diabetes remission researchers awarded the Rank Prize for Nutrition
On average, participants reported a weight loss of 10% at 12 months, and almost half involved in the study had put their type 2 diabetes into remission within one year.
A quarter of participants lost 15kg or more, and of these, 86% were in remission. More
recently the teams have shown that this intervention is also successful in people with a lower body weight, and that it is effective in people of South Asian origin.
A programme based on the DiRECT findings has been piloted by NHS England and is now being rolled out across England as the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme.
More than 5,000 people to date have been offered the intervention, with early results expected in the near future. The work has been recognised internationally, and the approach is already included as a treatment option in the Joint American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes Standards of Care document.
The research of Professor Lean and Professor Taylor is making a real difference to the lives of people with type 2 diabetes, by giving them the support and services to manage their health and reverse the effects of this serious condition.
Professor Lean said: “My reaction to receiving news of this highly revered prize was initially astonishment, almost shock, to be included among the list of illustrious previous winners. But it is deeply satisfying to realise that people really do understand and appreciate our work. A clinical research career is very long, often lonely or exposed, and doubted or even scorned, as conventional beliefs are challenged. I have been fortunate to have had wonderful loyal colleagues in Glasgow and elsewhere, critical support from Diabetes UK and people living with diabetes, and a 47-year professional friendship with Roy Taylor. Our research work, sometimes desperately tough, has always been infused with a sense of fun. Success in research, making a difference for our patients, is gratifying, and for all this to be recognised by the Rank Prize is immensely rewarding.”
Professor Taylor said: “I am delighted to receive this recognition on behalf of the physicists, doctors, nurses, dietitians and others who have provided fantastic team input over many years of this research thrust. The work would not have been possible without the selfless research volunteers, especially those in the initial Counterpoint study who took a leap in the dark in the interests of science. Without the research funding, type 2 diabetes would still be regarded as a lifelong, inevitably progressive condition. This funding has enabled testing of a seminal hypothesis and expansion to the present NHS England programme for remission of type 2 diabetes.”
Professor John Mathers, Chair of the Rank Prize Nutrition Committee, said: “The ground-breaking research by Professors Taylor and Lean has shown that a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is not a life sentence. Their demonstration that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission by sustained weight loss will empower millions of people globally to change their eating behaviour and to improve their health. In addition, Taylor and Lean’s discoveries will make a major contribution to reducing the economic and social burden of diseases associated with overweight and obesity.”
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