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St. Jude LIFE study could help shed light on preventing diabetes

image of someone's hands eating a salad and holding a smart phone

A healthy diet can help prevent diabetes.

St. Jude LIFE researchers want to know if using the fitness app Noom™ can help prevent diabetes.

Childhood cancer survivors face a higher risk for diabetes, an illness where the body has trouble using sugar (glucose). People with diabetes either do not make enough insulin or their body may not use insulin well. This is sometimes called insulin resistance.

Insulin is a substance that helps sugar get into your cells to give you energy. Diabetes can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels.

Before diabetes, a condition called prediabetes may occur. Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are above normal but not yet in the range of diabetes. Prediabetes usually has no symptoms, but taking action during this time could prevent future diabetes.

Stephanie Dixon, MD

Stephanie Dixon, MD

"Prediabetes and diabetes are occurring in childhood cancer survivors at a younger age and a higher rate than in the general population,” said Stephanie Dixon, MD, principal investigator of the study. PREDM is the name of the study.

In the general population, lifestyle change is a proven diabetes prevention tool for people with prediabetes. Healthy lifestyle changes include eating healthy foods, being physically active, and losing extra pounds. In some cases, people may also need medicine.

Noom™ is an app that helps people make healthy choices about food and exercise. It involves daily lessons about nutrition, goal setting, weight and food tracking, and access to health coaches.

Who can take part in the study

The PREDM study includes adult survivors of childhood cancer with prediabetes.

The study is open to people in the St. Jude LIFE study and those in the After Completion of Therapy Clinic. You must be 18 or older to take part.

What the study involves

People who take part will:

  • Have a health exam in the St. Jude LIFE clinic
  • Use Noom™ for 12 weeks
  • Visit St. Jude for another health check

If the participant still has prediabetes, a provider will prescribe a medicine called metformin. It helps control blood sugar levels.

Participants will take the medicine for 12 weeks and continue the Noom program. They will return to St. Jude for 1 more clinic visit. The entire study takes 24 weeks.

Researchers want to see if there are any side effects and if people will complete the Noom program. They also want to see if there are early signs that the program works. 

The study will also help researchers know if these strategies work for survivors as they work for the general public.

“It’s really important that we better learn how to prevent diabetes,” Dixon said. “It can help survivors live longer and healthier lives. People who take part in the study will help us know more about this and what the next step to improving the lives of survivors may be.”

If you are interested in taking part or have questions, email the study team at

Two participants share how the Noom program helped them

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