First human trial of potentially game-changing diabetes treatment set to commence

February 7, 2018, University of Otago
First human trial of potentially game-changing diabetes treatment set to commence
The product is a natural extract derived from the dahlia plant. Credit: University of Otago

University of Otago researchers are ready to take a significant step in the development of a new natural product that could potentially prevent diabetes.

The product is a natural extract derived from the dahlia plant. Principal Investigator, Dr Alexander Tups of the University of Otago Centre for Neuroendocrinology, says it shows promise for people with prediabetes.

"If taken early before develops it may stop the progression to diabetes. It might be prescribed together with lifestyle interventions but possibly it may even stop the progression to diabetes if taken on its own. It targets specific symptoms which contribute to the development of diabetes and intake may only be required for a certain amount of time to reverse the disease," Dr Tups says.

University of Otago researchers in partnership with Plant and Food Research have been investigating this potential game-changer - taken as a supplement in a capsule - since 2015. Research on mice has shown the extract to considerably reduce levels.

The next step is a preliminary clinical study, with at least 20 participants required from the Wellington area where testing will take place.

Candidates need to be male, between 18 and 65 years old, and have prediabetes.

University of Otago, Wellington, Endocrinologist, Associate Professor Dr Jeremy Krebs says the product shows huge potential to positively impact millions of people worldwide.

"Prediabetes is the state where are higher than normal but not high enough to meet criteria for diabetes.  About 25% of adult population have prediabetes, and 70% of people with prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes at some time if they don't do anything about it.  So it is a time when there is a chance to reverse the process," Dr Krebs says.

The product, derived from an extract of a specific variety of dahlia, is able to lower the spikes observed in blood glucose after a meal, in an animal model for prediabetes, without any observed side effects. Dahlias are recognised as safe by the Australian Therapeutic Administration, and Dr Tups says candidates considering taking part in the human trial can do so with peace of mind.

"In large scale animal studies we have not observed any side effects at high doses or prolonged intake. It is a natural extract from an edible plant so we anticipate it to be very safe," he says.

Though still in development, the product has already sparked interest from New Zealand companies and overseas pharmaceutical companies. The University of Otago has filed a provisional patent application, with a view to filing an international patent application as development continues.

"We want to demonstrate that the product lowers spikes in blood glucose during a so called glucose tolerance test. This is the gold standard to detect diabetes in humans," Dr Tups adds.

Due to Intellectual Property and commercial sensitivity constraints, full details of the product cannot be released publicly at this point. However if positive progress continues it could be available within 24 months.

Those taking part in the preliminary clinical study – being conducted in the Endocrine, Diabetes and Research Centre at Wellington Hospital - would need to attend on four occasions to have blood samples taken after taking a capsule of the dahlia extract followed by a glucose drink. The study is ready to commence as soon as participants are found. If a man is interested but doesn't know if he has prediabetes, he could check out his risk by completing the risk test on doihaveprediabetes.org.

Men keen to take part should contact the research centre, by email on diabetesresearch@ccdhb.org.nz  or phone +64 4 806 2458. Participants will receive a small payment in recognition of their time.

Explore further: Duration of diabetes, prediabetes linked to presence of CAC

Related Stories

Duration of diabetes, prediabetes linked to presence of CAC

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Diabetes and prediabetes duration are both independently associated with the presence of coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC) and left ventricular dysfunction, according to a study published online Jan. 9 ...

New simple tool can help identify people at high risk for prediabetes

April 3, 2017
The time to maximal sugar level during an oral glucose tolerance test is associated with higher risk for prediabetes and could give important information about the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin, according to ...

Children at risk of diabetes should be screened by HbA1C, oral glucose tolerance tests

April 4, 2017
Doctors should add an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to their hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) when they screen high-risk children for prediabetes and diabetes, new research from South Korea suggests. The study results will be ...

Six meals per day is better than three for blood sugar control in obese people with diabetes

September 13, 2017
Six meals per day is better than three for blood sugar control in obese people with impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes) or full-blown type 2 diabetes, suggests new research presented at this year's European Association ...

Family history of diabetes increases the risk of prediabetes by 26 percent, with effect most evident in non-obese

August 21, 2013
A study involving more than 8,000 participants has shown that people with a family history of diabetes see their risk of prediabetes increase by 26%. The research is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European ...

Serum prolactin in pregnancy predicts prediabetes / diabetes

May 2, 2016
(HealthDay)—Serum prolactin in pregnancy predicts the risk of postpartum prediabetes/diabetes, according to a study published online April 26 in Diabetes Care.

Recommended for you

Diabetes drug might also ease heart failure risks

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—The diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure, new research shows.

Diabetic foot ulcers heal quickly with nitric oxide technology

November 12, 2018
Diabetic foot ulcers can take up to 150 days to heal. A biomedical engineering team wants to reduce it to 21 days.

Marijuana use tied to serious diabetes complication

November 8, 2018
(HealthDay)—People with type 1 diabetes who use marijuana may double their risk of developing a life-threatening complication, a new study suggests.

Researchers report connection between intestinal bacteria and development of diabetes

November 7, 2018
Researchers at Örebro University have, together with a well-known research team in Denmark, developed a method for studying how metabolism in gut bacteria influences health. Their method will now be published in its entirety ...

Genetic factors tied to obesity may protect against diabetes

November 2, 2018
Some genetic variations linked with obesity actually protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke, new findings suggest.

Study shows improved health, reduced overweight and obesity in Pacific-region children

October 30, 2018
A community-randomized clinical trial of the Children's Healthy Living Program (CHL), based at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, seeking to sustainably prevent and decrease overweight and obese young children and to improve ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RajeevSamuel
3 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2018
Carbohydrates cause diabetes.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.