Supported by a $2.8-million, seven-year grant, the UNM Health Sciences Center was recently chosen as one of 36 National Institutes of Health (NIH) specialty sites across the country as a participant in the Glycemia Reduction Approaches to Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness, or GRADE, study.

The total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. have risen to $245 billion in 2012 from $174 billion in 2007, according to the American Diabetes Association. Furthermore, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for more than 1 in 5 health care dollars in the U.S., and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

UNM School of Medicine Chief of Endocrinology, David S. Schade, M.D., and his team hope to recruit 150 New Mexicans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last five years to compare the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used drugs in combination with metformin, the most common first-line medication for treating Type 2 diabetes. “Diabetes is a top health issue in the U.S., and we’ll be looking for answers right here in New Mexico,” remarks Schade, UNM study principal investigator in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. “Our citizens can benefit quickly and directly from participating in this study. What a unique opportunity.”

The GRADE Study, which includes institutions like Duke, Baylor, and Columbia universities, aims to enroll 5,000 patients to compare drug effects on glucose levels, adverse effects, diabetes complications and quality of life over an average of five years. All study participants will take metformin, along with a second medication randomly assigned from among four classes of medications, all approved for use with metformin by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Schade and his study team are currently recruiting study participants in New Mexico. Participants will be provided diabetes medication and supplies, and have their diabetes managed free of charge through the study, including at least four medical visits annually. Participants will receive other health care through their own providers. Eligible participants must be between the ages of 30 and 70 (or age 20 if Native American), have had Type 2 diabetes for less than five years and currently not taking any diabetes medication or only taking metformin.

For more information about the study, call 272-5454. For more information on the Health Sciences Center’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, visithttp://medicine.unm.edu/endocrinology/index.html.

For more information about the NIH study, visithttps://grade.bsc.gwu.edu/web/grade/home?p_p_id=58&p_p_lifecycle=0&_58_redirect=%2F.


Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3322