Researchers at the University of Exeter and the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in Seattle have developed a new risk score which takes into account detailed genetic information known to increase the chances of type 1 diabetes. This could be used to help identity babies at highest risk of developing the condition in the future. The score may also be used at the time of diabetes diagnosis to help decide if someone has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which need very different treatments.
In a study published today (Thursday January 17) in Diabetes Care , the team found that their new risk score, the T1DGRS2, which uses detailed analysis of key regions of the genome, was nearly twice as efficient at identifying babies at high risk of type 1 diabetes as existing methods, which use more simplistic measures.
To develop the test, the team analyzed genetic variation and gene interactions across the entire genome in 6,581 people with type 1 diabetes in the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium. They compared this to 9,247 control participants. This helped them incorporate all known and recently-discovered genetic elements that can indicate type 1 diabetes. They then conducted simulations to see how their test compared to current genetic methods of diagnosis and screening.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's own immune system attacks insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The immune attack usually begins several years before the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes appear. Being able to identify who's will develop Type 1 diabetes before its onset could help parents and doctors identify the condition before it becomes severe, and help the development of effective treatments to prevent type 1 diabetes.
In the future, this research could also open up new insights into what could be done to stop Type 1 diabetes from progressing.
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The University of Exeter in Exeter, Devon, and Falmouth, Cornwall, UK, offers research and study in sciences, social sciences, business, humanities and arts.
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Source: University of Exeter