Sunday, 17 July 2011

All in the name of research (D-GAP)

Monday 11th July I took my two youngest daughters, Victoria 4, and Elizabeth 2 to have their blood taken for the D-GAP trial. I have mentioned this trial before in a previous post, but if you haven't read it, which in itself is quite frankly shameful! Where have you been?! I will explain it again.
D-GAP stands for Diabetes - Genes, Autoimmunity and Prevention. It's looking at the genes and the immune system of siblings of diabetic children who were diagnosed under the age of 16 years. The trial involves taking two samples, a saliva sample which gets sent to Cambridge where it will be used for the study of genes relating to diabetes and it's complications, and a blood sample which will be sent to either Cambridge, London or Bristol. Here the white cells in the blood which determine immune responses and chemicals such as auto antibodies which could relate to diabetes risk will be studied. So, that's e science bit taken care of.
Olivia took part in this trial last year and her results show that she has two or more of the four antibodies. This means that she has a 1 in 5 (20%) chance of developing type 1 diabetes in the next five years. Now being the 'geek' that I can sometimes be I was very excited to hear that D-GAP had arrived at my local hospital, I was even more excited to discover that they had dropped the age from 5 years to 18 months!!! This meant that both my girls could take part, I would get results and be able to compare my three girls!! I was beside myself!!!
So, I made the appointment with the trials nurse, Kelly and off we set. I had tried to explain to the two girls that they were going to have their blood taken, and that they were doing it for Samuel, thankfully they were both happy with that.
We arrived at the hospital with some time to spare, which is most unlike me as I am usually late! My mum had come with me so that she could entertain one as the other one was being tested. We were met by two lovely nurses Kelly and Vicky. The all important 'magic' cream was applied to both girls and they waited with colouring books in hand whilst their medical history was taken and I signed the consent forms. This did take slightly longer to complete than it should have as anyone who knows me well, knows I like to chat!!
The time finally arrived for the blood to be taken, Victoria was up first. Now, we had decided that we would play rock, paper, scissors to distract her whilst the blood sample was being taken. Vicky was armed with bubbles.....what could possibly go wrong? Well, actually quite a lot. Victorias viens were not playing ball at all!!! The blood point blank refused to flow. Kelly was trying her best to get the sample without hurting Victoria, who was bored of playing rock, paper, scissors by now. I was sitting there thinking that it wasn't going to happen. We were not going to get the sample, she wouldn't be able to take part, and I wouldn't be able to compare my girls!!! Bugger!!!!
However, that was not the case and with careful manipulation of the needle the blood began to flow....success!!! Victoria, by this point was looking very sorry for herself, but two plasters, two stickers, a packet of iced gems, juice and some bubbles soon fixed that.
One down, one to go. It was Elizabeths turn. As she was that much smaller than Victoria I sat her on my lap. My first thought was that this was going to be stressful, and Elizabeth was not going to allow it to be done, but she surprised me. She sat on my lap and didn't make a fuss. Thankfully her veins were much more cooperative and the sample was taken with far more ease. Elizabeth also came away with a Dora plaster, a sticker, some chocolate and the all important bubbles.
Kelly gave me the bottles for the saliva samples so I could do it at home as the blood tests had taken so long, and we went on our way. Getting that sample was a whole lot harder than collecting their blood. Trying to get both girls to dribble, so that I could collect it with a swab was NOT easy. Anyway, I managed it, the samples have been posted and now we wait.
The results should be back in about three months, and I for one am very excited to see what they are.

Without trials like this how are we ever going to find out the reason why so many children are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I am very proud of my girls for taking part, and we all hope that one day we may find that all important cure.


  1. Silvermoondust18 July 2011 at 10:34

    I have just agreed for my other 4 children to take part in this study, but I didn't know you were told the results of their tests. I wish they could find a cause for so many kids suddenly developing type 1. We were told it could have been a simple common cold which triggered my daughters antibodies to start killing her pancreas cells. But, we'll never know. No one else is diabetic in my family. Hopefully these tests will give some insight for future generations. x

  2. You don't have to know the results if you don't want to. I am nosey so wanted to know. We think Samuels was triggered by the flu.

  3. Hi

    Can you post the link to the web site about this trial or how did you find out the age was dropped to 18 months? All the sites I've looked at still state the minimum age is still 5 years old. Thanks for your help

  4. D-GAP is being done at my local hospital, Southend. The trials nurse told me that the age had been dropped, although the website still says 5.
    Maybe drop them an e mail I am sure that they will be able to help you.

  5. Thank you for this post. Our little boy was diagnosed 8 months ago. Things have been very busy as life always is.. But never too busy for crucial research like this. This post has just reminded me to get our daughter in on this. X