- To study the natural history of 'familial' and 'sporadic' cases of IDDM from birth.
- To design maps of 'hot & cold spots' for IDDM and pre-IDDM as a young age group in Europe.
- To construct models of prediction, by means of testing prospectively the young cohort for islet-related antibodies and genetic markers.
- To create a Registry of young individuals 'at risk' of developing IDDM for future preventive trials.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is multifactorial in origin, resulting in the autoimmune destruction of the b-cells in the islets. There is a genetic predisposition linked to the LA region and the disease usually occurs in individuals of young age. The autoimmune process is triggered several years before the clinical onset of IDDM. During this latency period, several islet-related antibodies are detected. The combined analysis of these antibodies highly increase the prediction of IDDM in 'familial' cases of the disease. However, 80% of new IDDM cases are 'sporadic', with no family history of the disease and the predictive value of these antibodies in the general population is still largely unknown. There is no information available to date on the natural history of IDDM as early as from birth. The 'European Newborn-IDDM Project' plans to enrol 250,000 newborn in 8 Centres in Europe and follow them up over a period of 3 years. Cord blood and serum samples of the children at year 1 and 2 will be screened for IDDM-related autoantibodies. Those individuals found positive for one or more autoantibodies will be screened for HLA markers of susceptibility to the disease. This study, organised with the largest cohort of newborns in the World, will define the dynamics of 'hot & cold spots' for risk assessment of IDDM in Europe and eventually allow the construction of models of prediction and the planning of strategies for prevention of the disease.