For relatives of people with type 1 diabetes who are not yet diagnosed, but who are at risk for type 1 diabetes, there are now promising clinical trials available. UCSF Pediatric Diabetes Program director Steve Gitelman, MD, suggests that all family members take a simple blood test which screens for the presence of diabetes-related autoantibodies that may appear years before type 1 diabetes develops.
This antibody screening is part of a national research program called Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet and is being conducted to help understand more about the development of this disease and to look at ways to delay or prevent it.
For those found to be at intermediate risk of developing diabetes (25 percent chance of getting diabetes in the next five years), there is a trial introducing oral insulin. For those found to be at high risk (greater than 50 percent chance of diabetes in the next five years), there is a trial utilizing the anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody.