Diabetes blood test 'could mean end to daily insulin jabs'

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Doctors in Edinburgh believe a simple blood test they have introduced could allow some Type 1 diabetes patients to come off insulin.

The Western General hospital team say the test has identified previously unrecognised variants of the condition.

A routine screening programme was set up after medics discovered one patient had a genetic form of diabetes.

They say it has "transformational" results which, for some people, could mean the end of daily injections.

Traditionally, it had been believed that people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin.

That means they need lifelong monitoring and daily insulin treatments.

More recently, research has suggested there may be more sub-variations of the condition.

Since introducing the C-peptide blood test last summer, several patients have been able to completely come off insulin, while for others it has meant doctors can tailor treatments.

Prof Mark Strachan, who is a consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at the Western General Hospital, has now called for every patient to undergo screening - which costs £6 a time.

He said: "If we identify that somebody has a genetic type of diabetes, it can have a transformative effect on their life.

"Also, if we can establish that an individual has another form of diabetes, such as Type 2 diabetes, again there may be alternative treatments to insulin that we can offer them.

"So I think it is a very important and potentially transformative test."

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