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Diabetes test’s accuracy in pinpointing disease type is improving patient outcomes

Study reveals treatment benefits of C-peptide test – and it’s cheap too

Study reveals treatment benefits of C-peptide test – and it’s cheap too


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A test that costs £10 is helping clinicians differentiate between type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or sub-types of the condition.

The test, available in most UK hospitals, measures insulin levels and has been shown to be cheaper and more accurate than previous methods.

Researchers at the University of Exeter medical school published their findings on the test ahead of a discussion at a Diabetes UK conference in Liverpool today.

Test points to optimal treatment 

They looked at simple and inexpensive ways to measure C-peptide and demonstrated that this urine and blood test can show which treatment will be most effective in managing the individual's condition.

‘We’ve shown C-peptide is cheaper, more accurate and easier to use than previous methods. It's gratifying to see this improving patient health already’

Tim McDonald, clinical scientist, University of Exeter

Researchers at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh then used the new test on people thought to have had type 1 diabetes for more than three years, and discovered that some have other types of diabetes and can therefore cease insulin treatment.

University of Exeter clinical scientist Tim McDonald said: 'Getting the right diagnosis in diabetes is absolutely key to achieving the best treatment outcomes and avoiding complications.

'We've shown that C-peptide is cheaper, more accurate and easier to use than previous methods.

'It's gratifying to see this improving patient health already. My lab alone has received 7,000 test samples in the past 12 months.'

By offering this test to people thought to have type 1 diabetes in their clinic, the Edinburgh team have shown that many have high C-peptide, raising the possibility of other types of diabetes.

Some of these patients have been able to stop insulin and switch to tablet treatment.

Information about genetic factor

This testing also revealed that in some of patients, the diabetes had a genetic cause, which is important both for treatment and for relatives.

Academic clinician at Exeter Angus Jones added: 'It can be highly challenging for clinicians to differentiate between type 1 and type 2, and a number of genetic sub-types of diabetes.

'Treatment for these is very different, which is why being able to confirm if a person has the right diagnosis is so important.'


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