What is TrialNet?

TrialNet is a network of 18 clinical centers working with more than 200 screening sites throughout the United States, Canada, Finland, United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. This network is dedicated to the study, prevention, and early treatment of type 1 diabetes. TrialNet is supported by the National Institutes of Health and major diabetes organizations. Website:

TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that occurs in both children and adults. It develops when the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The immune attack that leads to diabetes goes on for years before the person has symptoms. A simple screening blood test can tell us if the immune attack has begun. 

Relatives of people with type 1 diabetes have about 15 times greater risk for developing the disease than people with no family history. The TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study offers the screening blood test at no cost to family members of people with type 1 diabetes. The screening test looks for the presence of type 1 diabetes-related autoantibodies that can appear in the blood up to 10 years before type 1 diabetes develops.  

You can be screened if you are:
  • 1 to 45 years old and have a brother, sister, child, or parent with type 1 diabetes OR
  • 1 to 20 years old and have a cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, half-brother, half-sister, or grandparent with type 1 diabetes.
(Your relative probably has type 1 diabetes if he or she is diagnosed before age 40 and needed insulin injections within a year.)
Testing negative for autoantibodies does not mean that you will never get diabetes, but your risk is much lower than if you had tested positive. Over 95% of the people we test are negative for signs of increased risk. If you test negative now, you may change and become positive later on. So, if you are under 18 years old, you can be screened every year until you are 18.
Testing positive for one or more of the autoantibodies does not mean you will get type 1 diabetes, but it does mean that you have a greater risk. If you do test positive, you will be asked to join the Monitoring part of the Pathway to Prevention Study, where we will ask you to come in once or twice a year for more extensive testing as a way of monitoring you.
TrialNet is offering studies testing ways to delay and prevent type 1 diabetes in those who are at risk, but do not have the disease. Eligibility for these prevention studies is determined by the tests done in the Monitoring part of the Pathway to Prevention Study. If at any time you are eligible for a prevention study, we will let you know. TrialNet is currently conducting three prevention studies, and more are being planned. The three prevention studies (all of which are being conducted at UCSF and some affiliated sites) are: Relatives of People with Type 1 Diabetes: From Age 3 to Age 45 - An Oral Insulin Preventative StudyRelatives of People with Diabetes: Age 6 to 45 Years with a Normal OGTT and Positive for 2 Antibodies, and Relatives of People with Diabetes: Age 8 to 45 Years With an Abnormal OGTT and Positive for 2 Antibodies.
If you are in the Monitoring part of the Pathway to Prevention Study and do go on to develop type 1 diabetes, the chances are that you will be diagnosed very early, often before any signs or symptoms occur, because we would have been monitoring you closely. Earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment. 
Earlier treatment has short-term and long-term advantages. TrialNet also conducts studies to delay the progression of type 1 diabetes once the disease is diagnosed. If you do go on to get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and become eligible for a study to delay the progression, we will let you know.

For Medical Professionals Who Are Interested in Screening the Family Members of Your Patients and/or Becoming a TrialNet Affiliate, please click here.