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Can type 1 diabetes be prevented? Help us to answer that question. - 11 August 2014

Can type 1 diabetes be prevented? Help us to answer that question. - 11 August 2014

The diabetes and paediatric teams at Musgrove Park Hospital are looking to recruit at least 245 people who are related to someone with type 1 diabetes to take part in a study.

The Natural History Study TrialNet screens relatives of people with type 1 diabetes because they have a 15 times greater risk of developing the condition than people who have no family history of diabetes.

It is hoped that by screening relatives of people with the condition the team will be able to gain a better understanding of how it develops, and therefore find ways to prevent it.

People who qualify to take part in the study include anyone who is aged three to 45 years old who has a brother, sister, child, or parent with type 1 diabetes or someone who is aged three to 20 years old who has a cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half-brother, half-sister, or grandparent with type 1 diabetes.

You will know if you have a relative who has type 1 diabetes because he or she will have been diagnosed before age 40 and need regular insulin injections.

To take part in the study you will need to have a small blood test taken from your arm. This will be tested for autoantibodies associated with type 1 diabetes. These are made by the immune system  to attack and damage specific organs or tissues in a person’s body. Many autoimmune diseases are caused by such autoantibodies, and the same is true for diabetes. The results of this autoantibody test will be reported by the TrialNet team within a few months.

If your results are negative for autoantibodies your risk of developing diabetes is much lower than if you test positive. However, it doesn’t mean you will never get the disease. If you are under 18 you can be rescreened every year

If your blood test returns as positive the team from TrialNet will ring you. Testing positive does not automatically mean you will get diabetes, it just means you are at a greater risk of doing so.  You may then be asked to have another blood test to confirm the results and you will be invited to remain within the monitoring part of the Natural History Study. This means you will be invited to have follow up blood tests once or twice a year.   

Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Isy Douek said; “The purpose of this study is to enable us to gain a better understanding of  how type 1 diabetes develops and help us find ways to delay and prevent it.” The research team at Musgrove Park Hospital are part of the UK network of screening sites and one of over 200 centres worldwide throughout North America, Europe and Australasia.  The study has been running at the hospital since late 2012 and has already screened over 100 people.”

If you are a relative of a person with Type 1 Diabetes within the age groups above and would like more information please contact either Sue Crouch on 01823 344738 or Kirsty O’Brien on 01823 342083.