WHAT IS GPPAD?
The Global Platform for the Prevention of Autoimmune Diabetes (GPPAD) was initiated in 2015. Its goal is to provide an international infrastructure that will enable type 1 diabetes primary prevention trials. These clinical trials are built around programs that identify infants with an elevated genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes, and will aim to reduce the incidence of clinical diabetes in children.
GPPAD’s long-term vision is to stop the trend of an increasing incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes. There must be global action built around a platform that coordinates controlled prevention trials. The GPPAD vision requires the participation and engagement of clinicians, scientists, government, laypersons, and the public at large. Prevention is indeed a global effort, and GPPAD’s success will rely on its ability to integrate and inform all these parties of the need and the means to bring about prevention of a lifelong disease that, in western countries, affects 4 in every 1000 children.
The GPPAD studies focus on preventing beta cell autoimmunity, which is a mistaken reaction of the immune system that causes type 1 diabetes. The preventive treatment should begin when the child is an infant or toddler, as beta-cell autoimmunity often occurs in the child’s first or second year of life. Closely interlinked, multi-regional screening programmes for the early detection of an increased genetic risk of type 1 diabetes in newborns, such as the INGR1D provide an important basis for this.
A genetic test can identify newborns with a 25-fold increase in their risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Families with infants at high risk of the disease are invited to take part in the POInT study aimed at preventing type 1 diabetes autoimmunity.
GPPAD is supported by the United States Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.