Researchers from the Thames Valley contribute to international success!
100,000 babies screened for increased type 1 diabetes risk in the INGR1D Study
It is a major milestone for one of Europe’s biggest type 1 diabetes research cooperations: The international platform GPPAD (“The Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes”) has successfully screened 100,000 newborns across Europe (including over 7500 newborns in the Thames Valley) for an increased genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Participant number 100,000 is two-week-old Arthur from Dresden, Germany.
If an increased risk is detected, the children are offered to take part in a prevention trial with oral insulin (‘POInT’). The goal: to delay or even prevent the manifestation of the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes. Study sites in five European countries (Germany, Belgium, Poland, Sweden & Great Britain) started working on the innovative trial in November 2017, among them the research team around Dr. Manu Vatish, Chief Investigator of the INGR1D study.
“We are thrilled that we have now screened 100,000 children with GPPAD & are grateful to all the hospitals & clinics involved”, Dr. Vatish says. “This number shows us that families have great interest in learning about their children’s risk status. It also means we are right on track towards the target of screening 330,000 newborns Europe-wide by 2022. And of course we are hopeful that our treatment approach of the prevention trial ‘POInT’ works. This would mean a big step towards our vision of a world without type 1 diabetes. But already today the families benefit greatly from early detection – through counseling & the excellent medical care that all of our study sites provide. Even if some of the children should develop type 1 diabetes at some point, the families will avoid possible grave complications and therefore improve the general course of the disease.”
The Meiringer family, whose twins Ben & Daniel participate in the POINT study, adds: “When we learned about the possibility to screen for an increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes, we were quickly convinced to have our children tested. It is reassuring to know that we’re doing everything we can to increase the chance that they will not have to live with this disease – and of course we’re happy to support the research. At the very least we’re helping other families in the future who are in the same place as us.”
Surplus blood from a baby’s newborn bloodspot screening card (taken on day five of a child’s life) is used for the screening. Participation is free & available for newborns up to the age of 3 months. Currently there are 317 young participants enrolled in the prevention trial ‘POInT’ – that is a third of all children for whom an increased risk has been detected.
“We’re so grateful for the investigators, midwives, nurses, & all those who are committed to shedding light on how type 1 diabetes develops & paving the pathway to life without its burdens,” said Gina Agiostratidou, PhD, Type 1 Diabetes Program Director at The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the funder of GPPAD. “In 2014, the GPPAD investigators & Helmsley started to work together to build a new kind of platform for type 1 diabetes trials focused on preventing this lifelong chronic disease from developing. We’re excited to continue our collaboration to make our shared vision of winning the battle against type 1 diabetes a reality."
Click here for further information on GPPAD