Personalized medicine helps researcher discover, tackle diabetes

In an extended look at the impact of personalized medicine, a Stanford University genetics professor was able to uncover a genetic predisposition to diabetes, then--after potential turned into reality--get the disease under control, according to an article published in MIT's Technology Review.

Professor Michael Snyder--the project's pincushion--documented his "genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, matabolomic and autoantibody profiles" into what was referred to as an "integrative personal omics profile" (iPOP) over 14 months. He and several colleagues published their results in the journal Cell.

Through genome sequencing, Snyder determined that he was at risk for type 2 diabetes, which he later developed, according to Technology Review.

"These results have important implications and suggest new paradigm shifts," the authors wrote in Cell. "First, genome sequencing can be used to direct the monitoring of specific diseases and second, by following large numbers of molecules, a more comprehensive view of disease states can be analyzed to follow physiological states."

The authors added it was vital that the study initially focused on an individual who outwardly appeared to be healthy. "This is a critical aspect of personalized medicine, which is to perform iPOP and evaluate the importance and changes of all the profiles in ordinary individuals," the study's authors said.

Snyder, who told Technology Review that the study "saved a lot of damage," also predicted the costs of such studies will eventually come down. He could be onto something, considering a DNA sequencer unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January only cost $1,000.

Genomics and personalized medicine have made plenty of headlines of late, as the Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System's University Medical Center announced recently that it will be among the first to test Life Technologies' Ion Torrent system, a next-generation gene sequencer. What's more, IBM just announced the creation of its own decision support tool to personalize treatments for patients suffering from cancer, hypertension and AIDs.

UnitedHealth Group recently predicted that the genetic testing market would hit $25 billion by 2021.

To learn more:
- here's the study in Cell
- read the Technology Review article

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