What if we were able to tell what some of the triggers for type 1 diabetes (T1D) are? A JDRF-supported project aims to do just that.
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) is following more than 7,000 at-risk children from infancy to 15 years of age to determine the causes of T1D. Six groups of researchers from across the world are collaborating to examine the impact of diet, illnesses, allergies and a host of other life experiences among children who are highly susceptible to the disease. The study population comes from three U.S. clinical centers in Seattle, Denver, and a combined group from the Augusta-Atlanta areas in Georgia and Gainesville, Florida, plus centers in Sweden, Finland and Germany.
JDRF investigator and TEDDY study coordinator at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Krischer, unveiled new results that identify clues as to what causes some people to progress to T1D and others to be protected. At the last American Diabetes Association’s conference held in June, he presented findings suggesting there is a correlation between age of onset, genetics and the type of autoantibodies that appear initially.
Dr. Krischer revealed that children who develop islet autoimmunity early tend to progress faster to T1D due to the development of antibodies attacking the individual’s own proteins (called autoantibodies). Those who develop islet autoimmunity later in childhood, however, tend to develop different autoantibodies and progress more slowly.
“We are investigating different etiological factors related to pathogenesis and also how autoimmunity progresses to diabetes,” says Dr. Krischer. “This is brand new information and vitally important for everyone who is dealing with children who show signs of autoimmunity, and the initiation of processes leading to clinical diabetes.”
Funded by JDRF, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other organizations, the TEDDY consortium was created to advance our understanding of how environment alters immunity, bringing us closer to prevention of T1D. JDRF has supported TEDDY since its inception in 2004, and is currently funding Dr. Krischer for follow-up of children taking part in the study.
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