The development of a World Health Organisation international standard for islet cell antibodies: The aims and design of an international collaborative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Islet cell antibodies (ICA) are a specific marker for Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. ICA are found in the serum of over 80% of newly diagnosed patients and the levels of ICA are directly of prognostic value. Standardisation of ICA and the uniform reporting of ICA levels in international units is critical to preclinical/clinical research and the development of assays for ICA as diagnostics, in particular for the differential diagnosis of late onset Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Proficiency studies carried out by the Immunology of Diabetes Workshops on Standardization have clearly shown that a single reference material, serum sample 673, obtained by Dr J. Ludvigsson, has significantly reduced inter- and intra-assay variability in the reporting of ICA levels. Nevertheless, this material is a frozen serum of limited shelf-life and is difficult to distribute on a worldwide and routine basis. Therefore, the Immunology of Diabetes Workshop Standardization Committee and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International requested that the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) organise an international collaborative study to compare the activities of lyophilised, stable ICA preparations. In addition, the purpose was to investigate if sample 673 could also serve as a standard for GAD65 and IA-2 antibodies. Twenty participants in eight countries have been recruited to the study.


External organisations
  • University of Washington, Seattle
Research areas and keywords


  • Assays, Autoantibodies, Islet cell antibodies, Standardisation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-77
JournalDiabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes