Researchers participate in nationwide study to discover new forms of diabetes

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers are participating in the Rare and Atypical Diabetes Network (RADIANT), a nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study seeks to discover new forms of diabetes, identify their causes, and understand how they differ from more common types of diabetes.

A person with atypical diabetes could easily be misdiagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. But because their disease is fundamentally different, they may respond differently to standard treatments. Our goal is to understand those differences so that we can better help these patients and the care teams that treat them."

Carmella Evans-Molina, MD, PhD, Study Lead Investigator, Indiana University School of Medicine

Across the country, investigators in the RADIANT study will screen about 2,000 people with unknown or atypical forms of diabetes--forms that do not fit the common features of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Their goal is to build a comprehensive resource of genetic, clinical and descriptive data on previously unidentified forms of diabetes.

"Increasingly, data show that there aren't just a few causes or types of diabetes. We estimate that upwards of 5 to 10 percent of diabetes cases can be classified as atypical," said Evans-Molina, who is also the director of the Indiana University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases. "RADIANT will provide critical insight into this emerging spectrum and could hold the key to future targets for prevention and treatment."

Evans-Molina and a team of IU researchers will collect detailed health information using questionnaires, physical exams, genetic sequencing, blood samples, and more from trial participants--including people with atypical diabetes and some of their family members.

Evans-Molina said that this, in addition to other data from previous studies, could pave the way for a more personalized approach to diabetes further down the road.

"RADIANT was designed in a very unique way," said Zeb Saeed, MBBS, assistant professor of clinical medicine, endocrinologist and study co-investigator. "A patient can work with their doctor who can refer them to participate in the study. Alternatively, a patient can be self-referred to the study by answering a few questions on the RADIANT website."

IU is one of 20 institutions in the RADIANT network. Other members of the team at the IU study site in Indianapolis are Emily Sims, MD, MS; Zeb Saeed, MBBS; Anna Neyman, MD; Kelly Moors, CCRP; Marimar Hernandez-Perez, PhD; and Maria Spall, RN, CCRP.

The study opened for recruitment on September 30, 2020, for people with atypical diabetes.

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