Massachusetts General Hospital is teaming up with RTP-based Metabolon on a study seeking to discover biomarkers linked to type 1 diabetes.

The study will be paid for by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Metabolon will use its proprietary metabolomic technology to test urine and plasma samples of type 1 patients. Metabolon will be looking for indicators that patients might develop kidney disease. Type 1 diabetes prevents the body from producing insulin and often leads to diabetic nephropathy, or kidney disease.

“More than half a million Americans have or will develop diabetic nephropathy associated with type 1 diabetes,” said John Ryals, president and chief executive officer of Metabolon. “This grant is another example of how Metabolon’s groundbreaking technology is being recognized as having the potential to discover novel biomarkers that could change the way a particular disease is treated.”

Massachusetts General invests more than $400 million a year in research, one of the largest such programs in the country.

“Diabetic nephropathy is a frequent complication of diabetes that can lead to kidney failure, which can then require dialysis or a kidney transplant,” said Darryl Palmer-Toy, the principal investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital. “We are very hopeful that successful biomarker identification technology will enable us to predict which patients will develop nephropathy, and to diagnose and treat it at an earlier stage of the disease.”

Metabolon: www.metabolon.com