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Broadening the use of sodium glucose 2 transporter

The George Institute for Global Health & University of New South Wales

  • Cardiovascular Senior Researcher Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 22 May, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Bruce Neal

Project summary

Design, fund and implement new, large-scale international collaborative trials of SGLT2 inhibitors amongst patients with diabetes.

What is the issue for NSW?

‘Sodium glucose 2 transporter (SGLT2) inhibitors are a highly effective treatment for diabetes. Large trials of SGLT2 inhibitors show that these drugs reduce the risk of death, heart attack, heart failure and kidney failure in high risk patients with diabetes.

What does the research aim to do and how?

The team in Sydney has led two of the five large studies completed to date and are world experts in the field. Professor Neal will lead a team of NSW researchers that will leverage this existing global leadership position in the field, to design, fund and implement new, large-scale international collaborative trials of SGLT2 inhibitors.

An example of a study already in advanced stages of development is a trial designed to test the effects of SGLT2 inhibitors when used early in diabetes. There is a strong likelihood that the benefits of SGLT2 inhibition will be greater if started early but all trials to date have been in individuals with long-term diabetes. With colleagues in Sweden, the team have designed an international collaborative study of 4400 individuals that will compare the effects of using the SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin as an alternative to current guideline recommended first-line treatment, metformin.

Professor Neal will also work to grow research capacity in NSW with the specific goal of putting the State at the forefront of clinical trials in Australia. This will help patients in NSW to access world first treatments sooner, as well as bringing significant new commercial opportunities to the State. A key component of this work is the development and testing of a Health Research Register. The ‘Count Me In’ register will seek to embed research within the NSW health system and increase community participation in trials by tailoring a model developed in the United Kingdom.

Positive results from Professor Neal’s program of research will lead to new treatments for large numbers of patients in Australia and overseas. By working closely with industry and academic partners the team have already secured drug supply for several and partial funding for others. Development of the ‘Count Me In’ Register is underway and some development funding has been secured from the University New South Wales to use the register to meet COVID-19 research objectives.

Our partners will use the data we generate to seek expanded labelling indications for drugs, broader inclusion of patients in reimbursement schemes and drive major beneficial health impacts through the application of their research discoveries.