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30.07.2019 News

100 000 babies screened for increased type 1 diabetes risk in Freder1k Study

Arthur is screening participant 100,000 © CRTD

Arthur is screening participant 100,000 © CRTD

It is a major milestone for one of Europe’s biggest health research cooperations: The international platform GPPAD (“The Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes”) has successfully screened 100,000 newborns across Europe for an increased genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Participant number 100,000 is a 2 week old boy called Arthur, born on the 15th July in Eilenburg, Saxony.

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 chronic disease type 1 diabetes.

Study sites in five European countries (Germany, Belgium, Poland, Sweden and Great Britain) started working on the innovative trial in November 2017, among them the research team around Prof. Ezio Bonifacio (Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Faculty of Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden) and Prof. Reinhard Berner (Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden). “We are thrilled that we have now screened 100,000 children with GPPAD and are grateful to all the hospitals and clinics involved”, Prof. Bonifacio says. “This number shows us that families are aware of the severity of type 1 diabetes and 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 we can provide the affected children with effective treatment through the prevention trial ‘POInT’. 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 and 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.”

Mrs. Klingner from Lichtenstein says: ‘One of our sons developed type 1 diabetes when he was a child, which is why we had our daughter Lisa screened when we got the opportunity with the Freder1k-Study. We are happy to be able to contribute to the fight against this disease and to possibly avoid the development for her. If the study is successful maybe even our grandchildren will not have to suffer under type 1 diabetes and will have a normal childhood. So, we did not hesitate to take part in Freder1k when we were asked and are very happy to be part of the POInT study. A big thanks to the whole team!

Only a few drops of blood are needed for the screening as taken directly form umbilical cord at birth or later from the child’s hand or heel. Participation is free and available for newborns up to the age of 4 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, nurses, and all those who are committed to shedding light on how type 1 diabetes develops and paving the pathway to life without its burdens,” said Gina Agiostratidou, PhD, Type 1 Diabetes Program Director at The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the funder of GPPAD. “In 2014, the GPPAD investigators and 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.”