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The Making of Medicine

$3.5 Million for ‘Radical’ New Diabetes Approach

Our Daniel J. Cox, PhD, has received $3.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund a large clinical trial of his radical new approach to managing type 2 diabetes.

Professor Cox's program is called GEM, short for Glucose Everyday Matters. In a prior study, it put almost 70% of participants in remission without weight loss or medication.

GEM aims to help people prevent blood sugar spikes by making educated food and drink selections. This is paired with targeted physical activity to help manage blood sugar levels. So someone might treat themselves to a piece of fruit, knowing how it will affect them, and then go for a walk to help even out their blood sugar.

“Instead of focusing on reducing weight with diets or medication, we focus on reducing how much blood glucose goes up and stays up after eating and drinking,” Professor Cox said. “These blood glucose elevations are what leads to high A1C and cardiovascular risks among adults with type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Cox's new study will build on his previous research to determine, at a larger and longer scale, if GEM offers a safe, effective way to manage type 2 diabetes for people who have been recently diagnosed.

The randomized trial aims to enroll 200 people in Virginia and Colorado. It will assess, over five years, whether GEM helps the study participants better control their blood sugar and reduces the need for medication. The trial will also compare the cost of GEM with other options and evaluate whether GEM has additional benefits, such as weight loss and decreased depression symptoms.

If you're interested in learning more about the trial, IRB-HSR #220259, contact Cox at or call (434) 566-2099.

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