JDRF Launches Program to Advance Universal Screening for Type 1 Diabetes


On Tuesday, December 12, JDRF announced the launch of T1Detect, a screening initiative designed to make early detection of type 1 diabetes (T1D) easier and more accessible to a broad population.  The initiative is supported by Provention Bio, a biopharmaceutical company and the developers of teplizumbab, which has been shown to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes for an average of three years.

The Importance of Screening

Through a simple blood test, it is possible to determine whether someone is in the early stages of type 1 diabetes before any symptoms occur. This type of screening has been available for family members of people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) through programs likeTrialNet since 2004. However, nearly 85 percent of people who develop type 1 diabetes have no known family connection, and T1Detect has no familial eligibility requirements.

The test will screen for three specific autoantibodies: insulin autoantibodies (IAA), GAD autoantibodies (GADA), and insulinoma-associated antigen-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A).  75 percent of people who test positive for two or more of these three antibodies will become insulin-dependent within five years, and the lifetime risk of developing T1D is virtually 100 percent.

“T1Detect is the first and only screening program that will enable a broad population to know their risk of T1D,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., president and CEO of JDRF. “This groundbreaking initiative is an important milestone for JDRF because it will increase awareness about early-stage T1D, provide access to crucial education and support for those at risk, and pave the way to ensuring that T1D screening becomes part of universal, clinical preventive services.”

Early screening for T1D has shown to reduce the onset of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) at diagnosis and improve long-term health outcomes. If not caught early, DKA becomes life-threatening.

How it works

If you are interested in being screened for T1D antibodies, visit jdrf.org/t1detect to learn more about screening and to be connected to Enable Bioscience’s portal to order and register your kit. The kit costs $55, and may be covered by your insurance. The kit is also available for a subsidized cost of $10 if the full cost proves to be a financial hardship.

It will take up to a week to receive your test kit after ordering, and then several weeks for Enable Bioscience to receive and process your sample depending on the volume of samples they have at that time. You will be notified by email when your results are ready on the testing portal and the whole process should take approximately four to six weeks.

If you test positive for two or more antibodies, it means you are at an early stage of T1D and are very likely to become insulin dependent in the future. The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor and develop a monitoring plan to help assess your general health, and greatly reduce the likelihood of DKA.

You will also have the option to participate in clinical trials aimed at preventing or delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes. You can find out if you are eligible by visiting TrialNet or through JDRF’s clinical trials connection tool.

Read about one family’s decision to have their youngest daughter screened after the diagnosis of her older sister.

T1Detect, a program of JDRF, is being promoted as part of the JDRF—Beyond Type 1 Alliance

WRITTEN BY Todd Boudreaux, POSTED 12/08/20, UPDATED 11/28/22

Todd was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been unofficially advocating for type 1 diabetes (T1D) ever since. Before joining the team at Beyond Type 1, Todd wrote and produced television shows for Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and Animal Planet. When he’s not in the office, you can usually find him at a baseball game, traveling, or drawing on his Etch A Sketch. You can also follow him on Instagram.