Discovered Biomarker May Lead To Type 1 Diabetes Screening Test

Investigators in Ireland discovered a biomarker that may help predict the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D).

T1D sets in when insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system, leaving the body unable to utilize glucose as an energy source.

The onset of T1D is typically during childhood through early adulthood. Being able to anticipate the disease, which can develop quickly, will help young people get treatment before experiencing serious complications such as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA occurs when the body, because it can no longer absorb glucose, breaks down fat for energy instead. This can create dangerously elevated levels of blood acids called ketones.

The research findings, published in the online journal Diabetic Medicine, indicate blood samples from individuals with newly diagnosed T1D contained a substance called 12-HETE. However, in blood samples taken from those with already established T1D, 12-HETE was not found.

The elevated levels discovered in just diagnosed patients means 12-HETE can potentially, along with other factors, serve as a signal for T1D onset. Scientists are now looking at earlier blood samples of individuals who later developed T1D. If these retrospective samples also contain 12-HETE, the researchers anticipate using this substance to create a type 1 screening test.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, about 40,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with T1D every year. Currently, 1.25 million Americans are managing the disease, and it’s anticipated that 5 million individuals will have T1D by the year 2050.

Sources: Science Daily; JDRF

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