UChicago Medicine and Advocate receive NIH grant to establish Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet center

After volunteers consent online to participate in Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet — a study aimed at discovering ways to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes – they receive a screening kit in the mail, as shown, and will be directed to a local lab for a blood test at no cost to the volunteer. (Photo: University of South Florida, Caption: NIH)

After volunteers consent online to participate in Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet — a study aimed at discovering ways to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes – they receive a screening kit in the mail, as shown, and will be directed to a local lab for a blood test at no cost to the volunteer. (Photo: University of South Florida, Caption: NIH)

The University of Chicago Medicine and Advocate Children’s Hospital / Advocate Health Care have received a five-year, $1.2-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to find new ways to delay and prevent type 1 diabetes. The grant will establish the first Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Clinical Center in Chicago.

TrialNet, a long-term, international collaboration managed by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), works to identify people at risk or in the early stages of type 1 diabetes – primarily by enrolling family members of individuals who already have diabetes.

Once identified, researchers offer individuals the chance to participate in studies that introduce prevention or treatment tactics that experts believe may have an impact on the progression of the disease. Because early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is key to successful treatment, previous TrialNet studies have already shown the effectiveness of such early intervention. The findings show people at risk for type 1 diabetes who participated in TrialNet’s “Pathway to Prevention Study” were more likely to be diagnosed early, which in turn leads to better patient outcomes

“Having a TrialNet Center in the Chicago area is a tremendous opportunity for families of those with type 1 diabetes in our community,” said Louis Philipson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics and Director of the University of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center. “We are very excited to partner with our friends at Advocate to reach as many patients and families as possible.”

Louis Philipson, MD, PhD

By participating in the TrialNet Center, patients across the Chicagoland area will have access to cutting-edge studies designed to prevent and treat type 1 diabetes. The Chicago TrialNet Center will contribute to the network’s overall screening of 15,000 to 20,000 people each year to reach TrialNet’s research goals.

“For people with Type 1 diabetes, the importance of early diagnosis cannot be overstated,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, MD. “Early diagnosis means people are less likely to develop diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition. Early diagnosis also means people can often control their diabetes more quickly, which may slow the loss of insulin-producing cells and may delay complications.”

The Chicago center will join a network of 18 TrialNet clinical centers working in cooperation with more than 200 sites throughout the United States, Canada, Finland, Britain, Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For more information on TrialNet, see https://www.diabetestrialnet.org/.

“We are delighted to partner with the University of Chicago to be a TrialNet Center,” said Kanika Ghai, MD, Division Director of Endocrinology at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “This is an amazing opportunity to better service children and adults in our community who are at risk for type 1 diabetes. This will enable us to offer studies that are evaluating new approaches to both treatment and prevention of type 1 diabetes.”

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About Matt Wood (468 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer for the University of Chicago Medicine and editor of the Science Life blog.
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