Research News

Drug trial helps Desmond get back on the road

A man with diabetes who has lost more than four stone since beginning a clinical trial of a drug says he feels “on top of the world”.

Desmond Hosking, 78, from Plymouth in Devon enjoyed an active life, doing a physical job and spending much of his free time working on boats and vehicles. But since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around 25 years ago, Desmond put on weight and was struggling to control the condition.

That is until he was offered the chance to take part in a research trial by clinicians at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. The cardiovascular outcome trial is investigating whether a drug used to treat diabetes also has a positive effect on heart disease.

The study, which is being supported locally by the National Institute for Health and Care Research is now closed to recruitment, but the couple have seen a huge difference in Desmond’s weight and overall health and energy levels.

Des and SonjaDesmond said: “I’ve been a lot better since I’ve been on the trial, I feel on top of the world. I’ve lost 4 or 5 stone and I feel quite fit. I still can’t walk as far as I’d like, but at least I can do a bit of work if I want to – just not 14 hours a day like I used to.”

Before starting on the trial, Desmond’s weight and ill health were making day-to-day life difficult and preventing him doing some of the things he most enjoyed. He said: “We had a nice boat that we got rid of, partly because with the weight it was getting harder to get on and off, and pull the anchor up and everything. And I wasn’t able to work on my Land Rover like I wanted to. My diabetes wasn’t stable.”

Sonja, who blames her husband’s ‘sweetie addiction’ for his health problems, added: “He’s lost loads of weight, which helps his body manage the diabetes better. And he’s a lot more nimble. He’s absolutely dedicated to his Land Rover, and he can get underneath it again now, he couldn’t have done that before.

“It really has improved his life a lot, he’s got so much more energy as he’s not carrying around so much weight.”

Desmond is clear about the advice he would give to others considering taking part in research: “I’d say just do it. You’ll feel a lot better in yourself, and the care you’ll get is second to none. Whoever it helps, I’m just grateful to be able to help them. The NHS has kept me alive for the last few years and now I can do my bit in return.”

The couple have two children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, most of who live locally and are regular visitors to Desmond and Sonja’s home. And it is the chance to improve life for future generations of people with diabetes that most inspires Desmond to take part in research: “It’s not for my benefit, I’m an old man. I’m doing it for the youngsters. Kids get diabetes, and I hate to see illness in other people.”

To find out more about Research and Development at University Hospitals Plymouth, please visit:

To find out about health and care research studies recruiting in your area, visit

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

Please answer the question below, this helps us to reduce the number of spam emails that we receive so that we can spend more time responding to genuine enquiries and feedback. Thank you.