ENDIA investigators Professors Len Harrison (pictured), Jenny Couper and Maria Craig, and Doctors Megan Penno, John Wentworth, Simon Barry and Ki Wook Kim attended the Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS) Meeting in London in October 2018. This was to present research results emerging from ENDIA. The main presentations were on the maternal gut microbiome.

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and others) that are present on our skin and mucous membranes, first acquired at birth. Humans each have about 10 trillion cells, and 23,000 genes. The microorganisms that live in us comprise more than 1,000 species, at least 50 trillion cells and 10 million genes. The largest microbiome is in the gut.

The microbiome is essential for normal development and is a critical determinant of health and disease. At the IDS, Prof. Harrison discussed the gut (faecal) bacterial microbiome and described differences between ENDIA mothers who live with type 1 diabetes, and those who don’t. Prof. Craig presented the gut viral microbiome and described how certain viruses were more frequently found in people living with type 1 diabetes. Ongoing research is now focused on how the infant’s microbiome develops, and whether there are any differences in children who go on to develop type 1 diabetes compared to those who do not develop the condition.

After the meeting, ENDIA researchers spent an afternoon in review and consultation with the international ENDIA Scientific Advisory Committee. This is made up of leading type 1 diabetes researchers from the United States, Finland and the United Kingdom, as well as funding representatives from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Australia and International) and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Foundation (New York).

Due to the pregnancy data especially, ENDIA is recognised as a unique study world-wide that may uncover how the environment and genes interact leading to the development of type 1 diabetes. It would not be possible without the resolute commitment and goodwill of the mothers, fathers and children who are ENDIA. Thank you.