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TEDDY Study providing insight into the type 1 diabetes disease process in children


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2 minutes

Beena Akolkar, PhD
Beena Akolkar, PhD

A panel of investigators will present recent findings from the ongoing TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young) Study during the Virtual 80th Scientific Sessions symposium Update from the TEDDY Study at 8:00 a.m. CT Monday, June 15.

TEDDY is a multi-center study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) designed to investigate the etiology of type 1 diabetes and identify environmental triggers of the disease. These include dietary factors, infectious agents, and other factors that predispose to or protect against type 1 diabetes in children at high genetic risk.

“The incidence of type 1 diabetes is rising worldwide, especially in the very young. And while it is known that children who develop type 1 diabetes have a genetic predisposition, not all children who have these risk genes get diabetes, suggesting that factors in the environment, currently unknown, are responsible for triggering the disease,” said TEDDY Project Scientist Beena Akolkar, PhD, Senior Advisor in the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases.

TEDDY has enrolled more than 8,000 children at elevated risk for type 1 diabetes from four countries and is following them from birth to 15 years of age for two primary outcomes, developing islet autoimmunity and diabetes.

“Early findings from the TEDDY Study have shed light on the heterogeneity of type 1 diabetes and shown that there are two different types of disease, depending on which autoantibody appears first in the disease process. This has changed our understanding of type 1 diabetes in children,” Dr. Akolkar said.

The study investigators have started to analyze the genetic, dietary, infectious, and metabolomic data and their latest findings will be presented during the symposium.

“TEDDY has discovered novel genetic and environmental determinants of these types of islet autoimmunity, as well as some biomarkers of the disease process,” Dr. Akolkar said. “This information will be important for people at risk for type 1 diabetes and their families, study participants, and clinicians. It could also inform future trials that are being designed to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes.”

Moving forward, Dr. Akolkar said TEDDY investigators will generate and analyze transcriptomic, epigenetic, and proteomic data to investigate the different etiologic factors related to pathogenesis of the disease process.

“This will make it possible to dissect further the heterogeneity of type 1 diabetes,” she said. “In addition, TEDDY will continue to follow the children to the age of 15 years and identify additional adolescents with islet autoimmunity. The significance of further follow-up of the cohort is that the children are entering teenage years, with new exposures and pubertal hormonal changes, and will thereby help define the incidence and triggers of islet autoimmunity from birth to age 15 years.”


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