»Omics« can, for instance, help researchers analyse the genome or all the proteins contained in a cell. Together with clinical and epidemiological findings these data provide not only new insights into renal function but also pave the way for the development of new strategies to combat chronic kidney disease.
The flow of data from the laboratories of geneticists and molecular biologists has grown into a flood in recent years. The twenty-five groups of researchers from fifteen countries who have been working together for the past five months on a large integrated research project known by the acronym SysKid aim to use the instruments of systems biology to channel and link these data in the field of nephrology and thus allow them to be utilised for medical research.
»So-called association studies have in recent years allowed numerous genes to be discovered that play in a role in the development of chronic kidney disease«, Professor Rainer Oberbauer from the Medical University Vienna explains. The impact of these genes varies, how-ever. They have a mutual effect on one another and are also influenced by external factors – in other words, they display the typical traits of a »multi-factor disease«. The processes that lead to chronic kidney disease are much more complex than is generally assumed. Not least for this reason the predictability of how kidney disease will progress and how it will respond to treatment is limited. »Our goal must therefore be to diagnose the processes that cause the disease in an individual patient so that we can target treatment more precisely”, Oberbauer says.
»Analysis of the genetic information transcribed in the genetic transmitter RNA clearly shows that thinking of disease in terms of single factors – one gene is responsible for each disease – makes no sense for the overwhelming majority of diseases«, says Prof. Dr. Gert Mayer from the Medical University Innsbruck. »What actually happens is that whole networks change«, the nephrologist continues. »We can assume that diseases are usually the result of an imbalance between ‘protective’ and ‘harmful’ networks«, Mayer continues, describing the new approach of researchers. Even chronic diseases should be seen as a kind of ‘balance’ between protection and damage, which should also be taken into account in treating them.
In order to test such hypotheses researchers need to order the huge amounts of data obtained from analyses of genes and proteins to find out which of them are significant. To do this requires not only complex methods from bioinformatics and systems biology. »Ultimately it will be necessary«, says Gert Mayer, »to test the findings provided by these new technologies in conventional systems«.
SysKid research teams have already done this in one field, as Professor Harald Mischak from the Biotech company mosaiques diagnostics in Hannover reports at the Munich congress. Together with scientists in Denmark and Australia, Mischak’s team analysed patterns of particular protein substances, so-called biomarkers, in urine samples from diabetes patients, which doctors had collected in long-term studies over many years and frozen for research purposes. The scientists were able to show that changes in protein patterns in urine allow kidney disease to be detected at a very early stage, long before conventional tests would provide any indication of the disease. »If the disease is treated in this early phase progress could be prevented or even aboided«, Mischak says.
»We are optimistic, that the ‘omics revolution’ will provide us with sets of data that will enable us to analyse even complex diseases«, says Dr. Bernd Mayer, managing partner of the R&D company emergentec biodevelopment GmbH, Vienna, whose team is coordinating SysKid. But Mayer is equally convinced that the researchers still have to do their homework if they are to use bioinformatics to optimise the management and integration of already existing and new data: »Method development therefore has an important role to play in SysKid«. Nevertheless, systems biology, which seeks to use new insights into networked and dynamic life processes to piece together a complex puzzle, is still in its infancy. »I am optimistic, however”, says Mayer, making a bold prediction, »that systems biology will have a major influence on clinical research in the future and that the manifold possibilities offered by bioinformatics for analysis and integration of data will have a big role to play in this«.The keywords are »omics« and »systems biology« in nephrology
Prof. Dr. Gert Mayer, Department of Internal Medicine IV, Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria
Media Contact: Barbara Ritzert · ProScience Communications GmbH · Andechser Weg 17 · 82343 Pöcking · Fon: ++49 (08)157 9397-0 · Fax: +49 (0)8157 9397-97 · email@example.com · www.syskid.eu
Barbara Ritzert | idw
Standard BMI inadequate for tracking obesity during leukemia therapy
29.01.2016 | Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Lipoprotein nanoplatelets shed new light on biological molecules and cells
06.01.2016 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
10.02.2016 | Life Sciences
10.02.2016 | Earth Sciences
10.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy