Rutgers Will Conduct the Most Comprehensive Study Ever Done of High-Risk Children Newly Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

Chintan Dave
Date: August 16, 2022
Media Contact: Nicole Swenarton

The project is backed by grant approaching $700,000 from JDRF

Rutgers will conduct the largest and most comprehensive study of children at high risk of developing a life-threatening complication of Type 1 diabetes with funding from JDRF, the leading global Type 1 diabetes research and advocacy organization.

The goal of researchers from the Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science (PETS) is to develop a tool to help clinicians identify children who are at high risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acid called ketones because it can’t produce enough insulin. It is supported by nearly $700,000 in funding from the nonprofit global organization.

“Every year, nearly 27,000 children and younger adults get newly diagnosed with T1D in the US, out of which 30-40 percent of them will present in DKA – a life-threatening, but an entirely avoidable complication of Type 1 diabetes,” said Chintan Dave, an assistant professor with PETS and the principal investigator of the grant-backed project. “If we can more accurately identify the risk factors associated with DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, we can provide timely interventions to reduce the proportion of children who present in DKA.”

This complication is the leading cause of hospitalizations, morbidity and mortality among children and younger adults with Type 1 diabetes in the United States and throughout the world.

Dave and his colleagues are using real-world clinical data from three databases to create one of the largest Type 1 diabetes cohorts of its kind to better understand the factors leading to DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

The three-year study, which begins in August, will estimate health outcomes in children who presented in DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, identify clinical and nonclinical risk factors associated with children who experience DKA and classify patients into risk categories for DKA to identify populations who may benefit from Type 1 diabetes screenings.

“This project will be the largest and most comprehensive undertaking of its kind,” said Dave, who also is a core faculty member of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and an assistant professor with the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. “Findings from these studies will improve our understanding of both why and which children present with DKA at diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.”

Study coinvestigators include Brian Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; Sally Radovick, a professor of pediatrics and senior associate dean for clinical and translational research at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Jason Roy, a professor of biostatistics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health.