deCODE launches novel DNA-based reference laboratory test for assessing inherited risk of type 2 diabetes

deCODE genetics has announced the launch of deCODE T2, a novel DNA-based reference laboratory test for the first common and well-validated genetic risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D).

deCODE believes this test may provide an important means to better gauge individual risk of T2D and in that help to guide prevention and treatment strategies.

The sequence variant detected by deCODE T2 is a single SNP (a one letter variation in the sequence of the genome) in the TCF7L2 gene on chromosome 10. In deCODE's original findings published last year, and in published replications by independent researchers in studies of tens of thousands of people from populations around the globe, between 8-11% of the general population have been shown to carry two copies of the risk variant, but roughly twice that number of type 2 diabetics. In other words, having two copies of the risk variant - a positive result for the deCODE T2 test - has been shown to correspond to an approximate doubling of the likelihood of T2D. Published studies have also demonstrated that testing for the variant detected by deCODE T2 can be used to identify prediabetics at higher than average risk of progressing to full-blown diabetes, and that these same individuals can effectively counteract this added risk through weight loss and through the use of certain medications.

"Understanding one's risk of T2D is the first step toward enabling more effective prevention. The principal risk factors for T2D are well known - obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise - and by addressing these individuals can reduce their risk of becoming diabetic. Family history, part of which involves genetic risk factors, also plays a part. deCODE T2 offers a new tool to help individuals and their doctors bring an understanding of inherited risk into the picture. deCODE T2 is but the first of several DNA-based predisposition tests we have in development for common diseases. We believe that as individuals, doctors and healthcare providers begin to integrate these tests as a part of everyday healthcare - much as cholesterol screening has become a part of understanding and reducing risk of heart disease - these tests may provide major benefit to public health," said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE.

To learn more about deCODE T2, go to http://www.decodediagnostics.com/ , or DNA Direct's site at http://www.dnadirect.com/ .

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