Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of our most common questions, from the basics about T1D to questions on participating in a research study.

About us

TrialNet is an international network of physicians, scientists, and healthcare teams at the forefront of type 1 diabetes research. Many of us have a personal connection with type 1 diabetes (T1D), fueling our passion to help families affected by T1D.

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Currently, TrialNet screens only blood relatives of people with T1D. But, we can provide you with information about T1D and resources . If the family members are children in your care, we suggest talking with their healthcare provider about your concerns. If they are adults, share your concerns with them and encourage them to talk to their healthcare provider.

We make screening as easy and convenient as possible with many screening locations and the option to get a test kit in the mail to take to a local lab. Your first step is to answer a few quick questions to find out if you qualify.

The length of the screening visit varies from person to person. For adults, the average visit takes about 30 minutes. Children may take longer in order to provide the best experience. Only a small sample of blood (about half a teaspoon) is needed. We can apply a numbing solution that makes it practically painless, but it can take up to an hour to take effect.

If you live in the U.S., it takes 4-6 weeks to get your screening results. Outside the U.S. it takes a little longer to allow for shipping. TrialNet forwards all samples from screenings and studies to specialized laboratories across the U.S. This way, all samples are processed in a consistent way, meeting strict requirements for scientific research. The process takes a little longer, but it’s an important step in ensuring you receive the most accurate results.

Not necessarily. Anyone with a relative with T1D has a 15 times greater risk than the general population. TrialNet offers screening that can detect diabetes-related autoantibodies years before symptoms appear. Detecting the disease in its earliest stage gives you the opportunity to try to change the course. There are clinical trials testing ways to slow or stop disease progression.

Participants in TrialNet monitoring, prevention and new onset studies receive payment for travel and related expenses. There is no payment for screening.

Most doctors check for the development of diabetes by testing blood sugar levels or A1C. TrialNet screening looks for diabetes-related autoantibodies that can be identified years before blood sugar becomes abnormal and symptoms appear. We also offer clinical trials testing ways to slow or stop the disease at every stage, as well as monitoring.

TrialNet looks for up to five autoantibodies that signal an increased risk for T1D:

  • GAD65A (called GAD)
    • Present years before a T1D diagnosis, pancreatic islet cell (GAD) autoantibodies are highly predictive of a predisposition to T1D and other endocrine disorders. 
  • ICA
    • Islet cell autoantibodies (ICA) are also highly predictive of T1D. Sometimes present years before diagnosis, they increase significantly before onset of T1D.
  • Islet Antigen 2 (IA-2A)
    • Tyrosine phosphatase-related islet antigen 2 (IA-2) is often targeted by islet cell autoantibodies. Nearly 90% of all children show evidence of this autoantibody at onset.
  • Microinsulin Auto-Antibody (mIAA)
    • The mIAA autoantibody, which is specific to insulin, is somewhat predictive of T1D on its own. When detected along with other autoantibodies listed here, it’s a strong marker for T1D.
  • ZnT8A
    • Highly predictive of T1D, ZnT8A is a zinc transporter that increases likelihood of diagnosis, especially in combination with GAD or ICA autoantibodies.

There may be other autoantibodies yet to be discovered. Your participation in TrialNet research will help us discover more about T1D and how to prevent it. 

A Mixed Meal Tolerance Test (MMTT) tests how much insulin your body is still making. It involves drinking 'BOOST’ that tastes like a milkshake, and contains a mixture of protein, fat and carbohydrates. The drink raises your blood sugar, causing insulin to be released from your beta cells. TrialNet Coordinators will take blood samples periodically during this test.