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Home > About JDRF & Our Impact > Our research > Research projects > Can measuring insulin release help correctly diagnose diabetes?
C-peptide levels are a measure of how much insulin someone can release. C-peptide tests cost just £10 and can confirm whether someone has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. At diagnosis, the amount of insulin people with type 1 and 2 can release often overlaps. But after three years, people with type 1 should have much lower C-peptide levels than people with type 2. So, the best time to do a C-peptide test is three years after diabetes diagnosis.
Correctly identifying type 1 diabetes is vital for appropriate treatment and education. But people misdiagnosed with a different type of diabetes than the one they have may receive the wrong treatment. Routinely measuring C-peptide levels of people treated with insulin after three years may identify misdiagnoses. This would allow them to start receiving the appropriate education, technology, and treatment for them.
Nick previously recruited 1800 people who had been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes for less than a year. The participants are all adults aged 18 – 90 years old. He monitored these participants and after three years 850 of these people were being treated with insulin. These participants then did a C-peptide test.
Now, Nick will follow up these 850 people to see how their C-peptide test impacted their healthcare and quality of life. He will find out how many people’s diagnosis and/or treatment changed following their C-peptide test, and if this change improved their blood glucose levels. This research will help Nick determine if everyone suspected to have type 1 diabetes should have routine C-peptide tests three years after diagnosis.
This project will help reduce misdiagnoses and ensure people with diabetes are given the right treatment and technologies for them. People diagnosed with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes are given fixed insulin doses and medication.
If they are then found to have type 1, they can begin standard type 1 diabetes treatment. This means regularly or continuously measuring their blood glucose levels, carb-counting and giving themselves varying amounts of insulin by injecting or using an insulin pump. This should help them achieve more stable glucose levels, reduce their hypoglycaemia, and may also help limit any diabetes-related health complications.
Nick’s project focuses on helping everyone with type 1 diabetes get the correct diagnosis. We are funding another study which is diagnosing people with type 1 diabetes as early as possible – before they are even experiencing symptoms. The study is called EarLy Surveillance for Autoimmune diabetes (ELSA) and you can read more about ELSA in our news story.
This award will help to fund the next generation of immunotherapy research, enabling more efficient clinical trials, in more locations, so that promising treatments can reach people sooner.
This project aims to overcome two major roadblocks to developing and licensing immunotherapies for people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Dr Bewick is exploring ways to improve the health, performance and number of beta cells in the body, so that people with type 1 can be less reliant on insulin pumps and injections – or even, one day, live without them completely.
This project is looking at a new way to turn stem cells into beta cells in the lab, to better understand what conditions make this process happen efficiently.