The Chronicle

Diabetes testing advances


AUSTRALIAN researcher­s are a step closer to their bold plan of testing every child in the country to check their risk of type 1 diabetes, after developing a single finger prick blood test to diagnose the chronic disease.

Immunother­apies have been shown to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes by years when used early, fuelling hopes that a lifelong reliance on insulin can be superseded by other treatments that turn off the immune attack on the pancreas before irreversib­le damage occurs.

But what is needed are cheaper and less-invasive ways of screening children to determine who is at immediate risk of decline.

The internatio­nal study, led by the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, analysed the blood test results from 3500 adults and children taken across multiple years.

They found a single finger prick test two hours after a glucose drink could replace the current multiple blood samples taken over a two-hour oral glucose tolerance challenge. The findings were published in the journal Diabetolog­ia.

“Ultimately we have bold visions for not only testing every kid in a diabetes family, but every kid in Australia,” lead researcher and endocrinol­ogist Associate Professor John Wentworth said.

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