Clinical Trials for Diabetes

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions. The NIDDK is the primary institute at the NIH that funds diabetes research, including clinical trials.

What are clinical trials for diabetes?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Scientists are conducting research to learn more about diabetes, including the following studies

  • The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study (GRADE) is following more than 5,000 people across the country who have type 2 diabetes to find out which combination of two diabetes medicines is best for blood glucose, also called blood sugar, management; has the fewest side effects; and is the most helpful for overall health in long-term diabetes treatment.
  • TrialNet is conducting research studies around the world, including risk screening for relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, monitoring for people at risk, and innovative clinical trials aimed at slowing down or stopping the disease.

Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

Watch a video of NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers explaining the importance of participating in clinical trials.

What clinical trials for diabetes are open?

Below is a list of selected clinical trials that are currently open and recruiting, but you can expand or narrow your search.

  • Type 1 diabetes—includes studies funded by the NIH or other U.S. Government agencies
  • Type 2 diabetes—includes studies funded by the NIH or other U.S. Government agencies
  • Gestational diabetes—includes studies funded by the NIH; other U.S. Government agencies; and individuals, universities, or other organizations

You can also search to find studies on other types of diabetes or on specific conditions linked to diabetes.

What have we learned about diabetes from NIDDK-funded research?

The NIDDK has supported many research projects to learn more about diabetes. For example

  • Look AHEAD: Action for Health in Diabetes. The Look AHEAD study showed that people who were overweight or had obesity and had type 2 diabetes can lose weight and maintain that weight loss through a program of healthy eating and increased physical activity. The study also showed that weight loss provides added health benefits, such as better physical mobility and improved blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The trial has been extended to study the long-term results of weight loss through healthy eating and physical activity programs in older adults with type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC). The DCCT showed that intensive treatment with insulin to maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as safely possible greatly lowered participants’ chances of developing eye, nerve, and kidney disease. The EDIC study has continued to follow DCCT participants for the past 20+ years. EDIC has shown that there are long-term benefits of early and intensive blood glucose control for the future development of diabetes-related complications such as heart, kidney, nerve, and eye disease; and that early and intensive control also lengthens life.
  • Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS). The DPP showed that people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the disease by making lifestyle changes that include weight loss through dietary changes and increased physical activity. Taking metformin, a safe and effective generic medicine used to treat diabetes, was also found to prevent the disease, although to a lesser degree. The DPPOS has continued to follow DPP participants to see if the lifestyle changes they made during the DPP or taking metformin continues to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes over time. To date, the DPPOS has shown that people can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes for at least 15 years with lifestyle changes or metformin.
Last Reviewed November 2016
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.