Gut feeling: World first diabetes trial in Sydney focuses on digestive tract health 1 October 2021 Though it is always a good idea to trust your gut, sometimes it needs a little outside help. This help is being explored in a world-first trial in Sydney with researchers testing a new method of managing type 2 diabetes. Conducted by researchers at the BMI Clinic, the trial focuses on the role of the duodenum in managing blood glucose levels. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine that connects the stomach to the rest of the digestive tract. When you eat it plays an important role in signalling to the rest of the body to prepare for the nutrients it is about to absorb. In people with type 2 diabetes, the cells in the duodenal lining are not functioning properly, which can contribute to an imbalance in blood glucose levels. The trial aims to improve this, by way of a procedure called Duodenal Mucosal Regeneration (DMR). In this procedure, a catheter (a thin tube) is inserted into the small intestine. Once in place, it emits electrical pulses that eliminate poorly functioning cells, and allow new, healthy cells to quickly regrow. These new cells can then start signalling properly to the rest of the body and help the body to better manage blood glucose levels. The procedure is not a cure but could be a successful part of a larger management plan of type 2 diabetes. Though the trial is still in its infancy, early results are promising. ‘What it’s done for me has just been phenomenal,’ said 42-year-old Daniel Thompson, the first participant in the study’s human trials. His blood glucose levels are now the lowest they have been in years. ‘It offers the promise of improving blood sugar control while also reducing the medication burden on patients,’ said lead clinical investigator Dr Adrian Sartoretto. Researchers are now looking for eligible trial participants in Sydney who can undergo the procedure. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia by a gastroenterologist, and is an endoscopic procedure. This means the catheter is inserted by way of the mouth and digestive tract, with the help of a small camera (endoscope). More information can be found here Key Points This trial focuses on the duodenum, a part of the small intestine that plays an important role in managing blood glucose levels. The trial involves inserting a catheter into the duodenum, that will help in the production of healthy cells that can communicate better with the rest of the body. Though the trial has only started recently, the early results are promising. Blood glucose levels in participants are significantly lower.