King's Health Partners and Buddi, a pioneering technology company, have joined forces to help prevent type 2 diabetes in those patients most at risk of developing the disease. Together, they have launched an innovative clinical trial to establish whether progression to diabetes can be halted and sustained through the use of wearable technology and person centred apps and messaging.
The one-year randomised control trial, partially funded by Innovate UK, is due to start in September, and will work with 200 patients in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.
It is estimated that more than 1 in 3 of the UK adult population have 'prediabetes', meaning they are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This equates to around 15.4 million of the adult population in England.
Patients with prediabetes are at a critical point where rapid intervention to promote lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of diabetes and thereby avoid medication and associated health complications.
Type 2 diabetes currently causes around 22,000 early deaths in the UK each year and costs the NHS £1 million per hour. It is estimated that there will 42% more people with diabetes in London by 2025. Preventing people from progressing to the disease would therefore have a major impact on the health of the population and the financial burden on the NHS.
King's Health Partners and Buddi are aiming to demonstrate that a wearable technological intervention coupled with personalised motivational information can reduce weight and increase physical activity; the two important risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
To test this, Buddi has developed a digital health system which gathers patient data on activity, eating behaviours and feelings about their diabetes self-management. The system will then analyse and feed back supportive and motivational interventions to encourage the patient to change their behaviours.
Professor Khalida Ismail, co-leader of the King's Health Partners Diabetes Clinical Academic Group, who is leading the trial, says: "In the face of the explosive growth of the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic, not only in London but globally, continued innovations in clinical services are required and the NHS is in need of new cost effective tools. Current intensive and expensive methods are not sustainable given the projected growth of the disease and we have a duty to develop new solutions to help tackle the problem."
Sara Murray, Chief Executive and founder of Buddi, says: "The NHS spends almost 10% of hospital expenditure on treating diabetes and diabetes related complications. We are helping to develop a solution to enable healthcare professionals to shift their focus from reactive treatment to preventative measures. This has the potential to provide an option for prevention and a sustained approach to lifestyle behaviour change, which is clearly needed by the NHS and patients alike."
Source and top image: King's Health Partners