Risk factors

Type1Screen seeks clinician support to test young people with T1D family history

Thursday, 31 Oct 2019


Clinician support is being sought for a type 1 diabetes early screening scheme, Type1Screen, that provides islet autoantibody testing to young people with a family history of type 1 diabetes.

Led by endocrinologists Professor Peter Colman and Dr John Wentworth (pictured) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the not-for-profit scheme offers a screening test for young relatives of people with T1D for autoantibodies against insulin (IAA), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), insulinoma antigen-2 (IA2), and Zinc transporter-8 (ZnT8).

The antibodies are highly sensitive and specific markers of type 1 diabetes, and young people who test positive for the antibodies will be linked to the closest participating diabetes centre to learn about symptoms of diabetes, and will be offered opportunities to participate in studies that aim to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

The screening tests, done through a local pathology lab, are being offered to people aged between 2 to 30 years who live in Australia or New Zealand and have a relative diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, or who have previously had a positive antibody test

According to Type1Screen, the scheme builds on the work of the TrialNet team that provides families living with type 1 diabetes access to antibody screening and offers participation in clinical trials of prevention therapies.

The website notes that recent results from the Teplizumab Prevention Study, announced in June at the American Diabetes Association’s 79th Annual Scientific Sessions, showed that T1D could can be delayed for a median of two years in children and adults at high risk.

Early detection of type 1 diabetes through antibody screening has also been shown to decrease psychological stress and the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

It notes that the five-year risk of developing type 1 diabetes is 8% if only one autoantibody is present. The risk increases to 40% if two or more antibodies are detected. If glucose intolerance is also present, the risk increases to 60%.

The Type1Screen network involves clinicians across Australia and is supported by the JDRF.

“If you have a patient with a family history of type 1 diabetes, tell them about Type1Screen,” they advise.

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