Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why personalized medicine holds promise for preventing and treating diabetes

Date:
January 9, 2012
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
To address the prospects for personalized medicine in diabetes, investigators have surveyed the field for existing research.

With the trend in healthcare moving toward an era of personalized medicine, there is much anticipation and hope that customized approaches to prevention and treatment based on a person's genetic make-up will result in better health outcomes. Some advances, most notably with prevention and treatment of breast and colon cancer, have been widely heralded, raising questions about the potential for personalized medicine for other common diseases, such as diabetes.

To address the prospects for personalized medicine in diabetes -- a disease that afflicts more than 25 million Americans -- investigators from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have surveyed the field for existing research and published their findings in the January issue of Health Affairs. The authors are Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean and former director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and Meredith Hawkins, M.D., professor of medicine and director of Einstein's Global Diabetes Initiative.

The issues they tackle are pressing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that, in 2007, diabetes cost the U.S. $174 billion in direct and indirect costs. The problem is also global: a recent study estimated the number of worldwide cases at 347 million -- a number greater than the entire U.S. population.

Drs. Spiegel and Hawkins propose that personalized medicine could offer a valuable tool to help combat the epidemic. Given the significant medical, economic and social costs of managing diabetes, prevention is a more efficient strategy than treatment.

But to apply this strategy, there need to be practical and reliable methods to identify individuals at highest risk. While obesity, "impaired fasting blood sugar" (levels above normal but not yet sufficient to diagnose overt diabetes) and family history are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, they are relatively inefficient predictors. For example, the CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 4 U.S. adults has an impaired fasting blood sugar level, but the annual rate of new diabetes cases among those individuals is reported to be less than 2 percent.

A way to target prevention efforts at people who are at highest risk for developing the disease would represent an important advance. "What are needed," Dr. Spiegel noted, "are innovative approaches for discovering accurate risk prediction markers. Progress also needs to be made in identifying methods -- be they drugs or lifestyle interventions -- that are effective in preventing and controlling the disease over the long term."

While advancements have been made, the search for specific genetic and other biomarkers for diabetes risk is still underway. Some DNA variants linked to higher risk have been identified, but they account for only a small fraction of genetic risk, and are therefore limited in their practical use. Recently, individuals with high blood levels of three specific amino acids were shown to have a greater than 5-fold increase in diabetes risk compared to the general population, highlighting the future promise of biomarkers for disease prediction.

"Public health initiatives are a critical tool in controlling obesity and diabetes but they are costly, especially in the developing world, where most new cases of diabetes are occurring," noted Dr. Hawkins, who has traveled extensively throughout South America, Asia and Africa studying the explosion of diabetes cases, including a poorly understood form of the disease known as malnutrition diabetes. "While it would be helpful to target scarce resources to those who would mostly likely benefit, consideration must also be given to those who fail to be identified as high risk by existing screening tests but will develop the disease anyway."

The Health Affairs paper is titled "'Personalized Medicine' To Identify Genetic Risks for Type 2 Diabetes and Focus Prevention: Can it Fulfill its Promise?"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. M. Spiegel, M. Hawkins. 'Personalized Medicine' To Identify Genetic Risks For Type 2 Diabetes And Focus Prevention: Can It Fulfill Its Promise? Health Affairs, 2012; 31 (1): 43 DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1054

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Why personalized medicine holds promise for preventing and treating diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109211823.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2012, January 9). Why personalized medicine holds promise for preventing and treating diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109211823.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Why personalized medicine holds promise for preventing and treating diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120109211823.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins