Type 1 diabetes could be quicker and easier to diagnose in the future thanks to a discovery by Irish based scientists.
The researchers have identified biological markers that seem to predict when Type 1 diabetes is developing.
The substance, 12-HETE, was found in high levels in the blood of patients who had been newly diagnosed with the lifelong autoimmune disease.
However, the biomarker was not identified in patients who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the past.
The research team think 12-HETE, combined with other measurements, could be used to accurately and rapidly diagnose the presence of the illness.
They are currently examining samples taken from patients who later developed Type 1 diabetes, to see whether the biomarker was present.
The research involved using samples provided by patients from Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown and the Children's Hospital Temple St.
Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition caused when the immune system destroy the insulin making cells of the pancreas.
Up to 16,000 people here have the illness, including around 2,750 under the age of 16.
It can result in serious side-effects, and requires rigorous monitoring and management, making early diagnosis extremely important.
The discovery was made by a consortium, known as 3U Diabetes, made up of scientists from Dublin City University, Maynooth University and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Involving clinicians and scientists from the three institutions, the 3U Diabetes Consortium is bringing together interlinked areas of research, including the identification and development of new molecules with therapeutic potential.
Details of the findings were published in a study in the journal Diabetic Medicine.