UK-first trial to screen children for type 1 diabetes now available in Northern Ireland | Newry Ireland News | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City

UK-first trial to screen children for type 1 diabetes now available in Northern Ireland | Newry Ireland News

Children in Northern Ireland are now eligible for a trial screening programme that will identify those at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes in the future.


UK-first trial to screen children for type 1 diabetes now available in Northern Ireland | Newry Ireland News - newry breaking news


Launched in England, Scotland and Wales in November 2022, the trial is the first of its kind for the UK which will lay the groundwork for the development of a potential future UK-wide screening programme, transforming how type 1 diabetes is identified and managed in its earliest stages.

Funded by Diabetes UK and JDRF, ELSA (EarLy Surveillance for Autoimmune diabetes) aims to recruit 20,000 children aged 3-13 years, to assess their risk of developing type 1 diabetes through at-home finger-prick blood tests.

Home testing kits are now available to families throughout Northern Ireland.

Around 1 in 100 children will require follow-up venous blood testing, available at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

Type 1 diabetes is a serious and lifelong autoimmune condition affecting nearly 9,000 people in Northern Ireland.

It is caused by an immune system attack on the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, meaning they can no longer make insulin, which results in high blood sugar levels.




The ELSA research team are able to identify people at high risk of type 1 diabetes by testing for markers in the blood called autoantibodies – tools used by the immune system to earmark insulin-producing cells for destruction.

Autoantibodies are associated with the development of type 1 diabetes and can appear in the blood years, or sometimes decades, before people begin to experience any symptoms.

The risk of type 1 diabetes increases with the number of different autoantibodies present in the blood.

Children with two or more autoantibodies have an 85% chance of developing type 1 diabetes within 15 years, and it is almost certain that they will develop the condition in their lifetime.

Children found to be at risk and their families will be offered support and education – including information on symptoms and management – to help prepare them for the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Families will also be offered the opportunity to be followed up in the long-term to enable closer monitoring and potentially to start insulin treatment sooner. Research in Europe and the US has found that the extra support and monitoring screening programmes can offer, dramatically reduces the risk of being diagnosed in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a life-threatening condition.

While type 1 diabetes is currently managed using insulin, there are new immunotherapy treatments on the horizon that could prevent or delay the condition.

Children found to be at high risk through ELSA could be invited to take part in research testing these treatments. One such treatment, teplizumab, which has been found to delay a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes by up to three years, was approved in the U.S. last year and is currently under review in the UK.


Tall Paul Marketing - NI blog content writer



Preventative treatments for type 1 diabetes can only be effective when combined with screening programmes to identify those at risk. By offering vital insights that could make routine, widespread screening for type 1 diabetes a reality in the UK, ELSA could be critical to help unleash the benefits of teplizumab if approved here.

Edelle Irwin, whose 6-year-old son is taking part in ELSA, says, “When my son Shane was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, we had no idea what to expect. Seeing my seven-year-old hooked up to all those machines, surrounded by nursing staff in a hospital bed will be forever etched in our minds. If we had recognised the symptoms earlier, that day would not have turned into the emergency situation it was.

“Now that ELSA is available in Northern Ireland, I’m relieved to be getting my youngest son screened for type 1. He also has autism and screening would allow us to plan in the case of a diabetes diagnosis and management, given the extra challenges his sensory issues may cause. I would urge other families in Northern Ireland to get their children screened too so that they have the tools to keep their children safe and possibly avoid a similar situation to us.”

For further information on the ELSA, please visit: Take part.


Keep up to date with all the latest Newry City news today, what’s on in Newry, Newry Ireland News, News in Newry, Newry Court News, Breaking News Newry and Today’s Newry News Now HERE.


Short URL:

Posted by on Nov 22 2023. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Find us on Facebook

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes