What is TrialNet?

Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet comprises studies looking at the development, prevention and early treatment of type 1 diabetes. The project is carried out by 18 clinical centers in 8 countries.

The aim of the study recently launched in Finland is to study people at increased risk for type 1 diabetes to learn more about what causes type 1 diabetes and to find out what might predict the development of the disease. This study provides close monitoring to individuals "at risk" for developing type 1 diabetes. Individuals at greater risk may be offered an opportunity to participate in a diabetes prevention study.

What to expect from the study?

The study consists of three phases. In the first phase, diabetes-associated autoantibodies are analyzed from a blood sample:

  • Only 3-4 people out of every 100 tested will have antibodies.
  • Children under 18 years of age who do not have antibodies are retested every year to see if their risk has changed.

Persons with autoantibodies continue to the second and third phase of the study. These phases include additional tests, and a baseline risk assessment is performed. Enrollment in a follow-up study is also offered.

What is the purpose of the first screening test?

The first screening test looks for autoantibodies associated with type 1 diabetes in blood. Autoantibodies are proteins made by the immune system suggesting that the immune system may be attacking the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Having autoantibodies indicates that the risk for developing diabetes is increased.

About 3 to 4 percent of family members of people with type 1 diabetes have autoantibodies.

To do this screening test, a small sample of blood is drawn from the arm at the TrialNet clinic (in Turku) or we send a test kit that can be taken to a local laboratory or a doctor to have the sample drawn. The sample is then sent to the TrialNet central laboratory for analysis. The test results will be available in 4 to 6 weeks.

Who can participate in the TrialNet study?

The risk of type 1 diabetes is approximately tenfold higher in close relatives of subjects with type 1 diabetes as compared to the general population. A child or an adult, who fulfills either one of the conditions below, may be studied to qualify for further (detailed) testing of the risk or to participate in prevention studies:

  • Age between 1 and 20 years, and has a cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half sibling, or grandparent with type 1 diabetes
  • Age between 1 and 45 years, and has a brother, sister, child, or parent with type 1 diabetes