Unborn babies test for type 1 diabetes supported by $8m

The first study in the world to
test unborn babies for type 1
diabetes has reportedly been supported by an $8
million funding injection.

University of Adelaide where the national study is being carried out
is the first in the world to test
pregnant women for the probability that
their unborn child may have the

The funding is being provided by
the Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation and the Helmsley
Charitable Trust and comes on
top of a $35 million Federal
Government grant over five
The Foundation's chief executive
Mike Wilson said unlike type 2
diabetes, authorities still did not
know what caused type 1.
"Type 1 diabetes has a very
strong genetic element to it, but
that doesn't determine alone
whether you develop the
disease," he said.
"You need to know what
happens in the environment to
trigger its initiation."

Researchers are hoping to find
out whether environmental
factors trigger the onset of type
1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes affects the
body's ability to make insulin,
which controls blood-sugar
levels, and can be developed at
any age though it is most
common in children.

Principal investigator Professor
Jenny Couper said the money
would allow researchers to test
1,400 pregnant women who
have type 1 diabetes, have a
partner with type 1 diabetes or
who have already had a child
develop the disease.
"It's the only study in the world
that is going right back into
pregnancy to look at what is
causing diabetes and what we
could change, most importantly,
to prevent diabetes," she said.

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