Type 1 Diabetes Network Expands Reach with Online Sign-up for Nationwide Testing
Memphis, Tenn. (May 17, 2013) – People with a family history of type 1 diabetes can now conveniently participate in free screening to help find ways to
delay or prevent the disease, even if they live far from a study site such as the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) . This alternative to site-based initial screening comes as modern technology enables more secure
online registration for medical research.
Consisting of a questionnaire and blood test, the screening is for Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, a long-term collaboration funded by the National Institutes of
Health and to which Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the UTHSC belong. This international collaboration aims to discover ways to delay or prevent type 1
diabetes (T1D) in people at increased risk. Each year, TrialNet must screen more than 20,000 relatives of those with T1D to reach its research goals.
Previously, relatives needed to visit a study site or attend a screening event, such as the annual Walk for the Cure sponsored by Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation International. But now, after answering a few questions online at www.diabetestrialnet.org
, eligible volunteers will receive a kit and be directed to a local lab for screening at no cost to the volunteers.
People who have antibodies associated with the development of T1D will be contacted by a TrialNet center to review the results. They may be invited to have
more blood tests at a study center such as UTHSC, and may be invited to join a study aimed at preventing or delaying the disease. Children under 18 years
old who do not have the antibodies can be retested annually to see if their risk has changed. Of every 100 people tested, typically only three or four will
have antibodies showing an increased risk for type 1 diabetes.
“TrialNet represents the largest screening program for type 1 diabetes in history. Participants who display the highest risk to develop T1D may be eligible
to enter clinical trials designed to assess prevention strategies for this serious disease. Screening can be performed conveniently at your local hospital
or health care provider’s office. Take control from type 1 diabetes in your family by becoming a part of this historic campaign against diabetes,”
encourages Robert Ferry, MD, chief of Pediatric Endocrinology for UTHSC and Le Bonheur.
Type 1 diabetes, once called juvenile diabetes, develops when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the
pancreas. Insulin, a hormone, is needed to convert glucose (sugar) into energy. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin by daily injections or a pump to
survive. However, replacing insulin is not a cure, and the disease may eventually damage the eyes, nerves, kidneys, and blood vessels. In adults, type 1
diabetes accounts for about 5 percent of the approximately 19 million people diagnosed with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not associated with obesity.
TrialNet studies have already helped. People at risk for type 1 diabetes who participated in TrialNet’s Pathway to Prevention Study were more likely to be
Launched in 2001, TrialNet has also demonstrated that two drugs, rituximab and abatacept, slow the loss of insulin production in people with new-onset,
type 1 diabetes. This finding could improve diabetes control and delay complications. TrialNet has also contributed to research showing that anti-CD3,
another immunosuppressive drug, can slow loss of insulin production. Three prevention studies are ongoing in TrialNet.
TrialNet (NCT00097292) is a network of 18 clinical centers
working in cooperation with more than 200 sites throughout the United States, Canada, Finland, Britain, Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. TrialNet
is funded by NIDDK and other NIH components, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Diabetes Association.
For more information on diabetes, including type 1, visit http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/.
As Tennessee’s only public, statewide academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of
the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated
program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100 years, UT Health Science Center has educated
and trained more than 56,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats more than 250,000 children each year in a 255-bed hospital that features state-of-the-art
technology and family-friendly resources. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s
Hospital. Serving as a primary teaching affiliate for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the hospital trains more pediatricians than any
other hospital in the state. For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit lebonheur.org. Follow us attwitter.com/lebonheurchild or like us facebook.com/lebonheurchildrens.