Biomarker panel spots the risk of Type 2 diabetes

The tubes contain blood samples of the study participants.--Courtesy: Birgit Große/Copyright: DIfE

A team of German researchers has found 14 new biomarkers that could lead to new diagnostics and treatments for Type 2 diabetes, according to a prospective study published in Diabetes. These could also be used to find a way to spot and protect those people who are at risk of developing this complex metabolic disorder at some point in the future.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes worldwide, and the numbers are rising as the population ages and gets more sedentary and more obese. Complications from diabetes are inconvenient, unpleasant and can be life-threatening, ranging from loss of sensation in fingers and toes to amputations, blindness and kidney failure.

Using 4,000 blood samples from three studies involving more than 27,500 people, the researchers looked for metabolites that could be linked with Type 2 diabetes and found 14 contenders. At the beginning of the study, none of the people involved had Type 2 diabetes, though some were at high risk. After following up for an average of 7 years, a number had become diabetic.

According to Tobias Pischon of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, who led the study, in addition to providing a clue as to how Type 2 diabetes develops, these 14 metabolites could be used as biomarkers to determine the risk of diabetes at a very early stage.

Simple biomarkers that could pick out those people at risk would alert doctors to give advice on weight and lifestyle, or to start early treatment, potentially stopping progression into full-blown diabetes, or at least slowing the onset of complications.

- read the press release
- see the abstract