Genetics researchers have identified two novel gene locations that raise the risk of type 1 diabetes. As they continue to reveal pieces of the complicated genetic puzzle for this disease, the researchers expect to improve predictive tests and devise preventive strategies.
"As we add to our knowledge of the biology of type 1 diabetes and better understand details of the disease's genetic risk, we will be able to develop better diagnostic tests that meaningfully predict who will develop diabetes," said study leader Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The study appeared online Oct. 7 in Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association. Hakonarson's co-leader in the study was Constantin Polychronakos, M.D., director of Pediatric Endocrinology at McGill University in Montreal.
Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, usually begins in childhood, when the body's immune system malfunctions and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, blood sugar levels run out of control and can impair blood flow and damage the eyes, nerves and kidneys. It is second only to asthma as the most common chronic disease in American children. Patients are dependent for life on insulin injections or insulin medications.
Type 1 diabetes is a complex disease, in which a variety of genes interact with each other to cause the biological events in the immune system that remove the body's control of blood sugar levels. Over the past two years, large research collaborations, including groups led by Hakonarson and Polychronakos, have used highly automated, sophisticated gene-scanning tools to pinpoint genes implicated in the disease.
Based on initial data from previous researchers, scientists in the current study refined their search in DNA samples of thousands of patients, family members and control subjects from P
|Contact: John Ascenzi|
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia