Pennington Biomedical Has Innovative Study Underway Comparing Treatments in Type 2 Diabetes

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- November is American Diabetes Month®-
Released: Monday, November 03, 2014

BATON ROUGE, LA -LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is seeking participants for a clinical research study for a first of its type effort that aims to provide doctors with better information on which medication is best for patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Pennington Biomedical is one of 50 medical centers in the United States that is working to enroll a total of 5,000 people with Type 2 diabetes in the GRADE study. The GRADE study (Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study) is the first clinical research study designed to find out which of four FDA-approved diabetes medications, when combined with metformin (Glucophage®), is most effective in treating the disease. Currently, metformin is widely accepted as the first medication that should be used to treat Type 2 diabetes; however, most patients eventually require an additional medication to manage the disease. The study is currently underway and will run for up to seven years.

Pennington Biomedical is a worldwide leader in diabetes prevention and treatment research, with many of the top internationally-recognized diabetes researchers working in Baton Rouge to combat the disease.

"The GRADE study underscores Pennington Biomedical's mission to fight chronic disease by uncovering new and innovative ways to treat patients affected by diseases like diabetes," said Dr. William T. Cefalu, executive director of Pennington Biomedical. "Louisiana is at the epicenter of the diabetes epidemic, which is why the GRADE study - and the results it will uncover - is urgent. Pennington Biomedical has been involved in the development of key diabetes medications on the market today. We're proud of that streak of discovery, and we hope that GRADE breaks new ground in the fight against this devastating disease." 

November is American Diabetes Month® - a time designed to focus the nation's attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the people who are impacted by the disease. Diabetes is the second most prevalent chronic illness in our country, behind obesity. Nearly 26 million Americans are affected by diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of amputations. In many parts of Louisiana, the prevalence of diabetes is 50 percent higher than the national average and it is costing our state approximately $4.5 billion annually. Moreover, up to 30 percent of people with diabetes do not know they have it.

The GRADE study is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institutes of Health.

People with type 2 diabetes may be eligible to join the GRADE study if they:

  • Have had type 2 diabetes for less than 10 years
  • Are over 30 years old
  • If American Indian, over 20 years old
  • Only take metformin (Glucophage®) for their diabetes
  • Are willing to take a second diabetes medication
  • Are willing to make four office visits per year for the next 4 to 6 years

Participants in the GRADE study will receive:

  • Close follow-up from an expert diabetes care team at no cost
  • Diabetes medications and supplies provided at no cost
  • Diabetes care visits and lab tests at no cost
  • Diabetes education at no cost

Anyone interested in participating in the GRADE study can visit or call (225) 763-3000.


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.