Leading The Way To Earlier Diagnosis Of Type 1 Diabetes

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Researchers at Children's Research Institute recently made significant discoveries in juvenile diabetes diagnosis. Led by Martin Hessner, PhD, associate professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, the research team applied a new approach, finding that type 1 diabetes patients during the honeymoon phase create a unique genomic fingerprint. The research team used a new type of blood test that identifies inflammation associated with type 1 diabetes though a unique genomic fingerprint. Remarkably, this fingerprint is evident years prior to disease onset.

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This discovery offers insight into the pathways responsible for type 1 diabetes. This fingerprint will be useful in identifying at-risk children earlier in the disease process. This offers hope for earlier treatment and even delay or prevention of full-blown diabetes. The Journal of Immunology recently published this research.

This research was accomplished through the Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes, established by football legend Max McGee. Diabetes is prevalent in the McGee family. Max's brother fought diabetes in his lifetime, and today, the McGees' son, Dallas, lives every day with this life-threatening disease. The late McGee, who died last October, co-founded the center to find a cure not only for his son, but for all people living with type 1 diabetes.

The center is one of few in the world studying the role of genetics in childhood diabetes. While diabetes is prevalent in some families, like the McGees, only 10 percent of newly diagnosed cases occur in families where that history exists. The Diabetes Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is one of the largest in the country, serving more than 1,700 children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and their families.

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