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The importance of identifying patients with Monogenic Diabetes

Monogenic Diabetes is a rare form of diabetes caused by a change to a single gene.

Anita Murphy, our regional Genetic Diabetes Nurse - East Midlands and East of England - highlights why it is important for clinicians to consider this type of diabetes when seeing patients and how it can change their management.

By confirming if a patient’s diabetes is actually ‘monogenic’, you can make significant treatment changes so patients can get the best treatment. They may even be able to take tablets instead of insulin which can be life changing for them.

Anita Murphy, Regional Genetic Diabetes Nurse
More on Monogenic Diabetes?

Monogenic Diabetes - often known as Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) - differs from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. A child of an affected individual has a 50% chance of inheriting the genetic change from their parent. If a child does inherit the variant they will generally go on to develop the condition before they’re 25, whatever their weight, lifestyle, ethnic group.

The key features are:

  • being diagnosed with diabetes under the age of 25
  • having a parent with diabetes, with diabetes in two or more generations
  • not necessarily needing insulin
Anita Murphy
Anita Murphy, who is based at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (Kings Lynn)

Anita, whose role is focused on upskilling clinicians on this specific type of diabetes, added:

“Monogenic Diabetes can often present as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes which is why training is essential for clinicians. It is important to help clinicians identify people who might have this type of diabetes and assist them in deciding when to test and what treatment to put patients on.

“With the high inheritance rates, we can also follow up with family members if a patient with Monogenic Diabetes consents to this. For those who might have the gene though not yet the condition, they can be advised how best to manage when they develop diabetes."

"For a particular type of monogenic diabetes, a specific class of tablet can improve glucose control more than insulin, patients no longer need to inject themselves and would not have to check their glucose levels as frequently. It's a great relief for those patients who are identified as being able to change treatments, as well as for those who are diagnosed with this type of diabetes at the outset."

Monogenic Diabetes will affect approximately 4% of those diagnosed with diabetes below the age of 25 years. Genetic testing would be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

By supporting training and education Anita helps clinicians to use their knowledge in their clinical practice.

There is now structured training for healthcare professionals to attend. This enables clinicians to identify patients who need genetic testing.

Anita Murphy

She is based at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust in Kings Lynn and works closely Genetic Diabetes Nurses based at Cambridge (CUH) and West Suffolk (West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust).

Anita has worked with colleagues at the recently formed GMSA to identify a nurse and doctor at every NHS trust to be a champion for Monogenic Diabetes who will roll out further information within their trusts.

Further information for healthcare professionals

The training can be accessed via www.diabetesgenes.org (opens in a new tab). Clinicians can also find their local Genetic Diabetic Nurse on this site.

Watch Anita's short (50 min) Genomics BITE session delivered to nurses and midwives in May 2023

Link: https://youtu.be/TxUcdIKp2fY