Participants in Duke’s PROMOTE Study Hope to Improve Care for Type 2 Diabetes

Joining Duke’s diabetes study in Kannapolis at the N.C. Research Campus was part of Susan Wagner’s commitment to improving the health of her community.  

“I have diabetes, and it’s somewhat under control. But I wanted to provide Duke with statistical data that they will need to build a model to address the issues of diabetes in Cabarrus County,” said Wagner, of Concord. 

Retired from manufacturing, Wagner, 68, participates in several Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) studies in Kannapolis, including the PROMOTE study. PROMOTE will assess whether a test product can improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 diabetes.  

The study seeks more people like Wagner, who are between the ages of 18 and 70 and are under the care of a healthcare professional for management of their disease.  

“This study fit into the bigger picture for me,” she said. “I don’t know if I am getting the placebo or the product, but diabetics in Cabarrus County need data to improve their health.” 

Study participation lasts about 15 weeks with six appointments in either Kannapolis or Durham. Participants are randomly assigned to receive either the test product or placebo.  

The PROMOTE team in Kannapolis, led by Duke cardiologist Dr. Kristin Newby, recently expanded the study to a new Duke research facility in Durham. Launched in October 2020, Duke Research at Pickett Road encourages community participation and diversity in clinical research by providing a convenient and comfortable site for study participants and researchers. 

“We are grateful to our study participants for their contributions to answering important healthcare questions,” Newby said. “Diabetes mellitus is such a challenging disease that affects almost every system in the body and can lead to a number of major long-term health consequences. Research into ways to improve management of diabetes is critical to reduce the burden of illness resulting from diabetes mellitus. To this end, we are excited to work with the community to conduct studies like PROMOTE.” 

Wagner, who has had Type 2 diabetes since 1995, began focusing on diet and exercise when she took a class at Cabarrus Health Alliance and began reading labels, counting steps, and keeping a daily food log. 

As her focus on health grew, Wagner began volunteering at Green Leaf Farms in the garden. She now eats mostly food that she has helped grow, and she’s enjoying relatively good health.  

“This is not something that happened overnight,” Wagner said. “Part of this evolution was to join the PROMOTE study, as well as doing things like getting enough sleep and eating correct portions. It’s about expanding your toolbox.” 

Like Wagner, Rosa Dorantes has Type 2 diabetes and participates in several Duke studies in Kannapolis. She joined PROMOTE after returning home to Granite Quarry from Mexico, where she had cared for a loved one who eventually passed away from complications due to diabetes.   

Her family history of diabetes, and witnessing the devastating effects of the disease if untreated, motivated Dorantes to begin participating in clinical research seven years ago. 

“I never thought that I would be a research participant, but it is important to me to help other people by helping researchers find new medicines,” said Dorantes, 56. “People are suffering.” 

Dorantes, who works for her daughter’s diaper service in Charlotte, said she has improved her health by eating well and staying active. When her PROMOTE appointments are complete, she plans to keep enrolling in new studies. 

“We are regular people,” she said. “For me to be able to do something like this, to perhaps save a life or help find a new medicine to help people, I can say I did something good during my journey.” 

People who want to learn whether they qualify for PROMOTE can call 704-273-5456, email TransPop@duke.edu or visit duketranspop.org/promote/. Compensation is provided for completed study activities. 

To learn more about the Duke CTSI clinical research facility in Kannapolis, visit duketranspop.org

To learn more about Duke CTSI, visit ctsi.duke.edu

diabetes, Duke CTSI, Duke University, Kannapolis NC, North Carolina Research Campus