Pediatrics researchers at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and McGill University in Montreal have identified a gene variant that raises a childs risk for type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes. As investigators continue to pinpoint genes contributing to diabetes, they have their eyes on providing a scientific basis for designing better treatments and preventive measures for the disease.
The research adds a new gene and new knowledge to the four genes previously discovered for type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and makes patients dependent on frequent insulin injections to keep the bodys blood sugar under control. As the project continues, the study team expects to identify additional genes (perhaps as many as 15 or 20) thought to interact with each other in the disease.
The study appeared July 15 in an advance online letter in the journal Nature.
The genotyping technology we now have available has revolutionized the way we can ask and answer research questions, said the studys lead author, Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. Unlike the previous technology, which was quite limited and dealt largely with relatively rare gene variants, we can now detect common genetic variants that are important in large numbers of individuals, and begin to understand how multiple genes interact in complex diseases such as diabetes.
In the discovery phase of the study, the investigators examined the genomes of 1,046 children with type 1 diabetes. These DNA samples came from patients and families followed in pediatric diabetes clinics in Philadelphia and four Canadian cities. Specifically, the researchers compared the genomes of 563 patients with type 1 diabetes with those of 1,146 matched control subjects. Those results were combined with those obtained from an independent anal
Contact: John Ascenzi
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia