USF center of 10-year international study to determine cause of juvenile diabetes

NIH $169 million grant to USF will study 8,000 babies around the world, track 100,000 lab tests, screen more than 360,000 newborns

Jeffrey Krischer, PhD

TAMPA, FL (3 October 2007)—
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $169 million to the University of South Florida to coordinate and analyze results from a 10-year international study to determine the environmental causes of juvenile diabetes. Its goal is to prevent, delay or reverse type 1 diabetes mellitus.

The 10-year award, to a USF Health team led by Jeffrey P. Krischer, PhD, is the largest in USF history. At clinical sites around the world, the study will screen 360,000 newborns in order to track 8,000 babies — eventually analyzing more than 100,000 lab tests.

“Dr. Krischer’s team is the focal point for virtually every major study of Type 1 diabetes prevention in the world,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, Vice President for USF Health and Dean of the College of Medicine. “He has created the premier center for unlocking auto-immune diseases, of which juvenile diabetes is one of the most common and most serious.”

The study will seek to explain why some children get juvenile diabetes and why the incidence has doubled since the 1980s. Known as TEDDY, it is “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young.”

“We want to know why the incidence of diabetes in the very young has doubled since the 1980s,” said Dr. Krischer, who is co-chair of the study and a professor of pediatrics at USF Health.

“We know that some children have a greater genetic risk of diabetes, but only 10% of those eventually develop the disease. This study gives us a large enough group of newborns to analyze factors in their lifestyle, diet or environment that may trigger the illness.”

“USF Health has made a strategic commitment to focus its research efforts in the area of autoimmune diseases of which Type I diabetes is a prototype,” said Abdul S. Rao, MD, MA, DPhil, Senior Associate Vice President, USF Health and Vice Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, College of Medicine. “We plan to build our research capacity around Dr. Krischer’s program which will have an unprecedented scientific and economic impact in the state and beyond.”

Newborns and their families will be recruited over five years, and followed to age 15. For more information, the study is explained in “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study: study design,” Pediatric Diabetes 2007: 8: 286-298.

- USF Health –

USF Health is a partnership of the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing and public health. It’s dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. With $310 million in research funding last year, USF is one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities and one of Florida’s leading universities.