Discovery of Fourth Diabetes Antibody Should Aid Disease Prediction

JDRF-funded researchers in Denver identified a fourth autoantibody in human blood that suggests the earliest stage of type 1 diabetes. (Autoantibodies are proteins directed at the body’s own cells and tissues and indicate a misguided attack by the immune system.) The new autoantibody, directed to ZnT8, is the first to be discovered in 10 years, and when measured in combination with the three previously known autoantibodies in type 1 patients (those against GAD, IA2, and insulin), it raised detection rates for autoimmunity to 98 percent at disease onset, a level approaching what is needed to diagnose prediabetes in a general pediatric population. “ZnT8 shows great value as a diagnostic tool, and we
believe testing for it will very quickly become routine in all of the ongoing clinical research studies,” said John Hutton, Ph.D., the paper’s senior author. The finding is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.