New Partnership for Metabolic Platform to Accelerate Weight Loss Research and Treatment

DCRI will partner with the Duke Margolis Institute for Health Policy and Eli Lilly and Company to understand the metabolic landscape and address disparities.

April 25, 2024 – The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and the Duke Margolis Institute for Health Policy are working to establish a platform for characterizing obesity management patterns and treatment responses while addressing barriers to clinical trials integrated into patients’ point-of-care experience. This new initiative — known as the Platform for Evidence GeneraTion in Cardiometabolic HeaLth (PETAL) — is a collaborative effort with Eli Lilly and Company to better understand the landscape of weight loss research and treatment.

This comprehensive project will begin this Spring with a thorough exploration of real-world populations affected by obesity. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of their characteristics and identify barriers to implementing effective weight loss interventions while better understanding what data are important for measuring obesity outcomes. The project will also strive to address health disparities by ensuring that the research findings and subsequent point-of-care clinical trial protocol are inclusive of diverse populations. This inclusive approach aims to develop solutions that are accessible and beneficial to all individuals struggling with obesity.

Paving the Way for Efficient and Patient-Centered Trials

The project may culminate in the development randomized interventional point-of-care trial protocol. This trial protocol will build on the initial real-world study to better understand the impact of obesity treatments on patient care and outcomes. Furthermore, the project will explore potential policy roadblocks and provide lessons learned for conducting point-of-care trials generally, aiming to streamline the research process and accelerate the delivery of effective treatments and better outcomes for patients.

“This collaboration is a testament to the capabilities at Duke for tackling complex healthcare challenges,” said Trevan Locke, PhD, assistant research director at Duke-Margolis. “The project is poised to deliver results that that will inform both policy and practice, ultimately improving our understanding of obesity treatments and modern equitable clinical trial conduct.”

“Understanding and improving the accessibility of obesity treatment options is a tremendous opportunity,” said Neha J. Pagidipati, MD, MPH, principal investigator at the DCRI, “especially for those at higher risk due to socioeconomic barriers. This study aims to better understand how these populations can be treated.”

About the Duke Clinical Research Institute

The DCRI, part of the Duke University School of Medicine, is the largest academic clinical research organization in the world. Our mission is to develop, share, and implement knowledge that improves global health through innovative clinical research. The institute conducts multinational clinical trials, manages major national patient registries, and performs landmark outcomes research. The DCRI is a pioneer in cardiovascular and pediatric clinical research and conducts groundbreaking clinical research across multiple other therapeutic areas, including infectious disease, neuroscience, respiratory medicine, and nephrology.

About the Duke Margolis Institute for Health Policy

The mission of the Robert J. Margolis, MD, Institute for Health Policy at Duke University is to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. For more information, visit