A major research breakthrough could help put an end to misdiagnosing type 1 diabetes as type 2 diabetes.
Teams from the University of Exeter Medical School and Randox Laboratories say they have developed a new test that accurately diagnoses type 1 diabetes, and will clearly distinguish it from type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition) and type 2 diabetes (a metabolic disease) are different conditions with different causes. Yet the conditions can be misdiagnosed as each other as the conditions both share high blood sugar as the main symptom and tests to distinguish between different types of diabetes are not carried out in every case.
The researchers state that up to 15% of young adults are wrongly diagnosed in the first instance, which means they are given the wrong medication and are vulnerable to serious diabetes-related complications.
In the past type 1 diabetes has been regarded as a childhood condition, however this is now known not to be the case and many people can develop type 1 diabetes in adulthood.
The Type 1 Diabetes GRS array test screens for 10 changes in a person’s genetic sequence which are usually associated with the condition. It combines the findings and provides a genetic risk score.
In a study analysing the new test, 259 DNA samples were presented and the GRS array successfully detected all the right genetic mutations, suggesting it could become a vital part of diagnosing type 1 diabetes correctly in the future.
Dr Richard Oram, who led the University of Exeter team, said: “No one has, to date, used the known strong genetic risk of type 1 diabetes to distinguish type 1 from type 2. Our assay could be used alone, or in combination with clinical features and autoantibody testing to improve classification of diabetes at diagnosis, and therefore make sure people get on the right treatment.”
The researchers concluded that the pioneering test provides a “rapid and reliable genotyping test” for detecting genes associated with type 1 diabetes.
The findings were unveiled at the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting &Clinical Lab Expo, which has been taking place in Chicago.

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