PLEDGE Pediatric Screening Study

Screening Children for Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Sanford Health has made a strong commitment to studying, preventing and curing type 1 diabetes. The Sanford PLEDGE study is a large-scale screening of children for type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

Through PLEDGE, we hope to find better ways to identify which children may be at risk of developing these diseases. Early detection means kids could start treatment early enough to prevent serious illness.

Enroll your child in this screening study now to improve children’s health care in the future.

Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin. The body’s cells need insulin to use glucose (sugar) for fuel.

Children with type 1 diabetes are often not diagnosed until they are very sick. Months or years before symptoms arise, these patients develop autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are antibodies (proteins made by the immune system to fight infections) that mistakenly target the body’s own tissues.

By screening for these autoantibodies, we can identify children with type 1 diabetes before they experience symptoms. This may help physicians start treatment in time to prevent serious illness in these patients.

Celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease in which eating gluten triggers the immune system to attack the small intestine. Over time, if patients continue to eat gluten, the condition can cause serious damage to organs.

How Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes Develops

The exact causes of type 1 diabetes are unknown, but genetics and environmental factors likely play a role. Risk factors may include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Race
  • Exposure to certain viruses

Studying Autoimmune Diseases

The PLEDGE study will collect data from participants in two ways:

  • Blood sample. Depending on your child's age at enrollment, we will collect a small amount of blood during a few routine clinic visits before your child turns 6 years old.
  • Annual questionnaires. While your child is under 7 years old, you’ll get a yearly My Sanford Chart invitation to update your family medical history. You’ll also be invited to answer a short questionnaire for the study.

The screening may identify your child as at-risk for type 1 diabetes or celiac disease. If that happens, we’ll monitor for development of the disease and recommend treatments when appropriate. Your child may also be able to participate a clinical trial of medicines that could help delay the progression of type 1 diabetes.

Learn more about the science behind the study and other diabetes research.

How to Enroll in the PLEDGE Study

You can enroll your child in this study if your child is:

  • Under 6 years old
  • Currently going to Sanford Health for annual checkups
  • Not diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

To enroll, please follow these three steps:

  1. Request information for enrollment through My Sanford Chart in the links below.
  2. Give consent for your child to participate in the PLEDGE study and for researchers to access your child’s medical record.
  3. Complete a brief questionnaire on your child’s family medical history and any concerns you may have about type 1 diabetes.

Call (877) 878-4825to learn more about the PLEDGE study and whether your child qualifies.