Diabetes research at UB boosted by $2.1M

April 11, 2013 Updated Apr 11, 2013 at 8:06 AM EDT

By Dan Miner, Business First

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Diabetes research at UB boosted by $2.1M

April 11, 2013 Updated Apr 11, 2013 at 8:06 AM EDT

Two new grants totaling $2.1 million will advance research into diabetes at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Paresh Dandona, a SUNY distinguished professor of medicine, received the grants to further his work into "liraglutide," an insulin additive. The research is exploring how the additive might change the course of treatment for Type I diabetes.

Dondona received a five-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes for Health (NIH); and a $712,000 grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.

According to a UB media release, Dondona and his team will use the NIH grant to conduct the first placebo-controlled, prospective, randomized study to determine the effect of adding liraglutide to insulin. The 56-week study of 90 people with Type 1 diabetes also will assess whether the drug suppresses the blood-sugar-raising hormone glucagon following meals.

The foundation grant will be used to study the effect of liraglutide on 70 obese patients.

Currently marketed as Victoza, liraglutide is currently used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Dandona is hopeful the research will confirm a beneficial effect for Type 1 patients, for whom the only treatment option is insulin. Finding an alternative is important because a majority of these patients are not well controlled.

Dandona is also leading two additional studies of liraglutide, one funded by the American Diabetes Association that will assess the effect of the drug on patients age 16 to 30; and another that will determine the correct dose through a study funded by Novo Nordisk, the drug's manufacturer.

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