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Archives for October 2017

What, Where and How: Exploring Disease Predisposition to Deliver Personalized Medicine

Geneticists from the University of Geneva have taken an important step towards true predictive medicine. Exploring the links between diseases and tissue-specific gene activity, they have been able to build a model that constitutes a first step towards the identification of specific sequences in the non-coding genome signalling their pathogenicity in the context of a specific disease. In a second study, they went even further by associating particular disease risks – including schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes – to the variability of genome activity in various cell types, with surprising results. Their discoveries, which can be read in two articles published in Nature Genetics, may very well revolutionize how each one of us, depending on our genome, manage our health.

New Asthma Biomarkers Identified from Lung Bacteria

While the microbiome has gained significant attention for its impact on digestive health in recent years, its effect on lung disease has largely remained unstudied. Dr. Patricia Finn says this is a missed opportunity. “The microbiome is the ecosystem of good and bad bacteria living in the body,” said Finn, the Earl M. Bane Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Because the lungs continuously and automatically draw air, and any number of environmental agents, into the body, the composition and balance of microbes in the lungs may have a profound effect on many respiratory conditions.” New research from Finn and her colleagues in the UIC College of Medicine suggests that the lung microbiome plays a significant role in asthma severity and response to treatment.

Are e-Cigarettes ‘Safer’ than Regular Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes appear to trigger unique immune responses as well as the same ones triggered by regular cigarettes, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Big Pharma Joins NIH’s Cancer Moonshot for a Biomarker Hunt

Eleven drug companies are joining forces with the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Moonshot to expedite the discovery of cancer immunotherapy biomarkers, molecular bar codes that help doctors know how to treat a tumor and gauge how well a person responds to a drug.

Quest Diagnostics’ Cleveland HeartLab Acquisition Reflects Personalized Medicine Trend

Quest Diagnostics has snapped up Cleveland Clinic spinoff Cleveland HeartLab in an equity deal and formed a strategic collaboration with the health system. The acquisition gives the national clinical lab testing business access to the HeartLab’s proprietary tests identifying biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease that go well beyond the conventional screening tests for cholesterol.