ACBRD leads new research into the experiences of parents and health professionals involved in the Type 1 Diabetes National Screening Pilot

ACBRD is partnering with the University of Sydney for the Type 1 Diabetes National Screening Pilot

By Dr Christel Hendrieckx

On 11 July 2022, Dr Kirstine Bell and the team at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre launched the Type 1 Diabetes National Screening Pilot. This exciting project is funded by JDRF, the leading non-Government funder of type 1 diabetes research.

Why do we need a national screening pilot?

Three Australian children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every day. However, nine out of 10 people who develop type 1 diabetes have no family history of the condition. Therefore, early signs and symptoms can be easily missed. When the diagnosis is late, it requires emergency medical care. This can be traumatic for both the child and their parents. In Australia, this is the case for at least 1 in 3 children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The overall aim of screening is to identify these children early, so these traumatic experiences can be prevented.

What is the plan?

The pilot program will be rolled out across five states in Australia. Three different screening methods will be compared to find the best possible way to screen children for type 1 diabetes (newborns, babies between 6-12 months, and children aged 2, 6, 10 years). The tests are easy, simple, safe, and free.

Children with, or at high risk of type 1 diabetes, will be referred to a childhood paediatric diabetes specialist for free ongoing monitoring and care. At the same time, research is ongoing about interventions to prevent or delay type 1 diabetes. When opportunities occur, these families could be invited to take part.

So what is the ACBRD’s role?

The success of population screening depends on engaging and supporting families. It also depends on the support of health professionals and services. Led by Dr Christel Hendrieckx, the ACBRD researchers will survey parents and health professionals about their experiences of being involved in this pilot. Their feedback will be very valuable to determine the best method for screening and the best way to make screening available to every child in Australia.

If you would like to know more about the Type 1 Diabetes National Screening Pilot, visit

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