Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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20 Clinical OMICs January/February 2018 www.clinicalomics.com Helen Albert Contributing Editor A New Approach to Autoimmunity A t least 23.5 million Americans are believed to have an autoimmune disease, a prevalence comparable with that of cancer or cardiovascular disease. This figure has rapidly increased over the past 30 years, now accounting for 5% to 10% of the global population, with more than 100 different autoimmune conditions now recognized by the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association. Despite the large number of people affected by these chronic conditions, many remain undertreated and underdiagnosed. No cure for autoimmunity has been found, and the cause of many such diseases is still unknown. The complexity and heterogeneity of many autoimmune diseases has previously made them hard to define and treat. However, the recent rapid rise of omics technolo- gies has facilitated a new approach to the study of these conditions. "The multi-omic approach has the potential to unveil novel aspects of disease pathology as well as identify multiple biomarkers, that then can be targeted for therapeutic intervention as well as monitoring responses to such interven- tions," Fozia Mir, Ph.D., Tisch MS Research Center of New York, explained. While scientists acknowledge that research into more effective treatments for autoimmune disease still lag fields such as cancer, progress toward better diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment is slowly being made. With the aid of new and rapidly advancing technology, there may yet be light on the horizon for the many thousands of patients with these chronic, often debilitating conditions. A Technological Revolution Many gene-association studies in patients with autoimmune disease were carried out following the sequencing of the human genome. Although many genetic associations were observed, they were difficult to replicate across patient cohorts and did not take environmental influences into account. "We realized that what is important is not the specific gene involved in that spe- Using Multi-omic Technology to Reclassify and Improve Treatment for Autoimmune Disease "The multi-omic approach has the potential to unveil novel aspects of disease pathology as well as identify multiple biomarkers, that then can be targeted for therapeutic intervention as well as monitoring responses to such interventions," — Fozia Mir, Ph.D. Tisch MS Research Center of New York

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