Diagnosing type 1 diabetes in children before symptoms occur might be possible, researchers have said.
Looking at certain types of protein in the blood could help doctors determine whether a child is going to develop the condition.
The findings of two large studies, which aimed to look at the mechanisms behind diabetes development, have been published in the Diabetologia journal.
Researchers from the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München looked at blood samples from 30 children, all of whom had developed type 1 diabetes either very rapidly or following a long delay.
The results were compared with children who did not display any autoantibodies or any symptoms of diabetes.
The researchers then looked at further samples from another 140 children and discovered different protein compositions within the blood.
Dr Christine von Toerne, a scientist in the Research Unit Protein Science at the Institute of Computational Biology, said: “Altogether, we were able to identify 41 peptides from 26 proteins that distinguish children with autoantibodies from those without.”
The team are confident the protein combinations they found will help make diabetes diagnoses easier and faster in the future.
Professor Dr Anette-G. Ziegler, director of the Institute of Diabetes Research (IDF) at the Helmholtz Zentrum Münche, said: “The progression of type 1 diabetes into a clinical disease takes place over a period of time that varies from individual to individual and that at this time is insufficiently predictable.
“The biomarkers that we have identified allow a more precise classification of this presymptomatic stage and they are relatively simple to acquire from blood samples.”

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