Helping young adults achieve type 2 diabetes remission
In a collaboration with British researchers, Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta is leading a clinical trial that combines supervised exercise with meal replacements for weight loss and diabetes remission
There are almost 6 million Canadians living with diagnosed diabetes (type 1 or type 2) according to Diabetes Canada, and the incidence rate is on the rise.
Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta is trying to change this, by advancing research, and working with policymakers. A senior scientist in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program (MeDiC) at the Research institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), Dr. Dasgupta is leading the “RESET for remission” study. This joint Canada-UK project is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as part of the “100 Years of Insulin” program and by the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom. The randomized clinical trial aims to help people 18 to 45 years old with type 2 diabetes reverse this condition, by bringing their blood sugars below diabetes levels without medications.
“In the UK, a large pilot project is currently being implemented to offer the dietary component to several thousand young people living with type 2 diabetes,” explains Dr. Dasgupta, who is also the Director of the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at the RI-MUHC. “Our innovation is the combination of the diet with supervised exercise, to understand the added benefits.”
Those in the active intervention arm of the RESET study receive a low calorie diet that includes meal replacements like shakes and bars. They also exercise at a gym, under supervision two to three days each week. After three months, they shift to a healthy food-based diet and exercise monitoring without direct supervision. Those in the comparison group have the same tests as the experimental group and then are offered the special diet 6 months later, as thanks for their participation.
A promising project receiving attention from the federal government
The RESET project drew the attention of the Member of Parliament Sonia Sidhu, Chair of the All-Party Diabetes Caucus. On November 2, 2022, she visited the RI-MUHC as part of her work to implement the Framework for Diabetes in Canada, which outlines national efforts to better recognize, collaborate with, and support those impacted by diabetes in Canada.
MP Sidhu was hosted by Dr. Dasgupta, who introduced the RESET study, as well as several other key clinical trials focused on diabetes. Drs. Meranda Nakhla and Julia Von Oettingen, both scientists in the Child Health and Human Development Program, also participated in the meeting and presented research on type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Nakhla spoke about her work to improve the transition from pediatric to adult care for emerging adults (age 18 to 30) with type 1 diabetes, in the CIHR-funded study called GET-IT-T1D). Dr. Von Oettingen presented the CAnadian Pediatric diAbetes ConsortIum (CAPACIty), which is creating a network and national pediatric diabetes registry, with the goal of informing the implementation and evaluation of interventions to improve the health and well-being of children and youth. The CAPACIty study is funded jointly by the CIHR and JDRF- a global organization funding type 1 diabetes research.
MP Sidhu also visited the RI-MUHC’s Centre for Innovative Medicine (CIM), where RESET study participants go for their evaluations, including exercise stress testing, blood work, and body composition studies. A fully equipped “research hospital within a hospital”, the CIM hosts and facilitates pediatric and adult clinical research studies, offering access to specialized clinical research staff and a full range of equipment and services required to conduct clinical research.
“It was an honour and a privilege to meet with MP Sidhu,” says Dr. Dasgupta. “In order to have a real effect on people’s lives, we need progress in research, but also changes in policy. Ultimately, we would like to scale up our innovations across the country to manage and support all forms of diabetes and to prevent and to induce remission of type 2 diabetes.”