Genetic risk score predicts type 1 diabetes development among those at high risk

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 04 Sep 2018
Genetic risk score predicts type 1 diabetes development among those at high risk
The type 1 diabetes genetic risk score (GRS) has been successful in predicting progression to type 1 diabetes among those at risk of the condition.

The GRS has been developed by researchers at the University of Exeter to accurately predict a type 1 diabetes [T1D] diagnosis based on a person's genes. The project began in January 2017 and research is set to continue until January 2020.

The new findings, published in the most recent issue of Diabetes Care, show that GRS accurately predicts progression of type 1 diabetes and improves prediction along the stages of type 1 diabetes.

A total of 1,224 people without type 1 diabetes were studied, all of whom had relatives with the condition and one or more positive autoantibodies indicative of diabetes development.

All the participants were from the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention study. On this study, participants received a diabetes risk score based on The Diabetes Prevention Trial-Type 1 (DPT-1) Risk Score. This test assessed type 1 risk based on BMI, age, glucose and C-peptide levels. C-peptide is a way of seeing how much insulin your body produces.

In the new study, having a higher T1D GRS "significantly increased the rate of progression to T1D", the researchers said. Higher GRS was also significantly linked with increased progression rate.

Progression to type 1 diabetes was best predicted by a combined model of GRS, number of positive autoantibodies, DPT-1 Risk Score and age.

Having a reliable risk score could be very helpful for families with a history of type 1 diabetes to assess the likelihood of type 1 diabetes developing. This could help families and doctors to react swiftly should type 1 diabetes develop, which could reduce the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) from developing before diagnosis.

DKA is a potentially dangerous condition that is more likely to develop if a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is not provided quickly.

The study also included researchers from universities in the US and Australia.

Earlier this year, the GRS was shown to be able to potentially prevent misdiagnoses of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
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