By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Potentially lifesaving diabetes research is changing the lives of some Oklahoma children.

TODAY is a nationwide breakthrough study aimed at treating childhood diabetes. Medical experts at OU Health Sciences Center have enrolled 150 children, the most nationally.

Cheyenne Perryman was 9-years-old and 150 pounds when she learned she had diabetes.

"I remember like falling on my knees crying because I really didn't understand it at that time," Perryman said.

Perryman is one of the children who enrolled in the TODAY study. As part of the intense program, she takes medication and has learned the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. She also meets regularly with doctors and dieticians to keep her on track.

Dr. Kenneth Copeland is a diabetes specialist and researcher at the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center. He's following many of the children in the study and said he is alarmed at the number of patients with Type 2 diabetes.

"Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes that really until recently was only encountered in adults, but now because of its relationship with obesity is beginning to be seen at younger and younger age groups," Copeland said.

The TODAY research has found children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are predominately minority, mostly female, overweight, and from families with a strong history of diabetes. But the most promising outcome of the study is how it's changing lives.

"I lost a lot of weight and I had a lot more friends when I did that. When I didn't, I didn't have any friends, barely had any friends," Perryman said.

The study's participants will stay in the TODAY study until 2011, and a select number of patients will be followed into adulthood.

The study follows children ages 10 to 17 and involves 15 major children's diabetes centers nationwide. A little over 1,200 children are taking part in the study nationwide.