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NIDDK Funding Long-term Type 1 Diabetes Screening Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Medical College of Georgia said that it has been awarded a $10 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to continue a long-term study of newborns in Georgia and Florida aimed at determining how genetics and the environment can cause Type 1 diabetes.

The five-year grant will be used to enroll an additional 200 newborns in Georgia and Florida for an ongoing program called The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young, or TEDDY, which has already enrolled 700 newborns.

The TEDDY program is an international research effort that includes research sites in Georgia, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Washington, Finland, Sweden, and Germany that will eventually screen around 360,000 newborns and enroll around 7,800.

The program screens newborns for two high-risk genes for type 1 diabetes, and those who are enrolled are followed for 15 years. Investigators will gather information about the children from various sources, including blood samples, fingernail clippings, stool samples, and others in an effort to "piece together the genetic and environmental causes of type 1."

The program began in 2004. Since then, MCG researchers and principal investigators Jin-Xiong She and Cong-Yi Wang have discovered one of the genes used to help screen for risk of the disease.

She believes there are at least 20 genes that could be used to screen for type 1 diabetes, and such a test using these genes would be around 50 percent accurate at identifying children who will develop the disease.

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