A Researcher’s Perspective: Bringing Patients to Trials to Accelerate Research

Anath-ShalevAnath Shalev, M.D., works on a clinical trial supported by JDRF (the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research) titled “Repurposing of verapamil as a beta cell survival therapy in T1D [type 1 diabetes]”. The trial aims to test the safety of a commonly used blood pressure medication (verapamil) in adults with recent-onset T1D and to determine whether taking this medication for 12 months will improve insulin production in these individuals.

Her research will provide the critical first step necessary to officially repurpose this medication to treat T1D. Ultimately, this work should help develop a novel therapy for T1D that is distinct from currently available treatments and enhances the patient’s own beta-cell mass and function. By doing so, it should reduce or even eliminate the need for multiple daily insulin injections or insulin pumps, improve glucose control and quality of life and prevent diabetes complications. This trial is still ongoing and recruiting subjects 18-45 years old, diagnosed with T1D within the last 3 months.

Here, Dr. Shalev shares her insight on the importance of clinical trials to research and the T1D community.

What would you say to those in the T1D community who want to know more about participating in trials?

Aside from possibly getting a chance to try a new approach oneself, this is a wonderful way to make a difference by helping others affected by T1D down the road, and to be actively involved in advancing novel treatments and changing the landscape of diabetes.

JDRF and TrialReach recently launched a new tool to match participants with clinical trials. How might this tool make a difference in T1D research?

When diagnosed with T1D there are a lot of things to think about, get adjusted to, and deal with. Any tool that can help navigate the vast selection of different trials in this critical and challenging time period would make a big difference by bringing the “right” patients together with the “right” trials. Since finding these “right” patients is often a difficulty in clinical studies, this would also help accelerate T1D research in general.

What excites you most about T1D research today?

I am most excited that we finally have promising targets to promote patients’ own functional beta cell mass and thereby address a major underlying cause of the disease.

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