Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to Enroll Patients in Innovative Drug Study for Type 1 Diabetes

Published on 
November 4, 2013

Study will test the safety and efficacy of metformin plus insulin therapy in overweight adolescents

Media Contact: Ellin Kavanagh
Office: 323-361-8505

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will participate in a nationwide drug study evaluating the effects of metformin, a medication that has been shown to be safe and effective for treating type 2 diabetes. T1D Exchange, a nonprofit program dedicated to improving the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes by facilitating better care and accelerating research, was recently awarded a $2.8 million grant to conduct this study.

Jamie Wood, MD

Normally diagnosed in children and young adults, type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by insufficient insulin production by the pancreas. Insulin is needed to allow glucose into the body’s cells, where it can be converted into energy. Without insulin, glucose becomes trapped in the bloodstream and can cause complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and decreased vision. While there is no cure, type 1 diabetes can be managed through life-long insulin therapy and continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, the development of type 1 diabetes is not influenced by weight or other environmental factors. However, “there is increasing evidence that individuals with type 1 diabetes have not escaped the general population trend toward obesity, despite the traditional phenotype of type 1 diabetics being of normal or underweight,” says Jamie Wood, MD, physician in the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Overweight children with type 1 diabetes have trouble controlling their blood glucose levels because their bodies become resistant to insulin.”

To combat this emerging issue, T1D Exchange’s nationwide network of experienced type 1 diabetes researchers, patients and healthcare professionals, will conduct their first multi-site study to observe the effects of metformin. This drug has been used for the past 50 years by individuals with type 2 diabetes, but its safety and efficacy is largely unknown for treating type 1 diabetes.  Metformin, which acts to reduce excessive glucose production, will be tested in combination with standard insulin therapy in overweight individuals with type 1 diabetes. Over a period of 6 months, the patients, aged 12 to 19 years, will be monitored for blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity with the goal of developing a successful treatment for this growing subset of patients.

“This study is our first opportunity in some time to test a new treatment for type 1 diabetes and accelerate the progress of therapies that will increase our patients’ quality of life,” says Mitchell Geffner, MD, division chief of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. “We look forward to treating several study patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and seeing first-hand what this medication might do for the thousands of other patients with type 1 diabetes we see each year.”

Please see Unitio News for more information about this study 

About T1D Exchange
T1D Exchange was founded on the premise that finding faster, better therapies for type 1 diabetes (T1D) requires a research model as multi-faceted as the disease itself. T1D Exchange acts as a convener of the thousands of people working to improve patient outcomes already—by connecting them to one another and to the patient community at large. Drawing on decades of research and data that have come before, T1D Exchange aims to be the translational engine that enables the entire T1D ecosystem to collaborate in truly novel ways via the integration of a clinic network, clinic registry, biorepository, and the online patient/caregiver community, Glu.

For more information, please visit


About Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital on the West Coast and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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