U. Iowa team shows how protein analysis can make diagnoses more accurate and treatments better targeted to individual patients
As medical professionals search for new ways to personalize diagnosis and treatment of disease, a research team at the University of Iowa has already put into practice what may be the next big step in precision medicine: personalized proteomics.
This retinal scan of a uveitis patient demonstrates retinal thickening (red) involving the central retina resulting in compromising vision. University of Iowa researchers recently recently used proteomics (protein profiling) to devise a successful treatment strategy for a patient with uveitis, a disease which can have many causes, making it particularly difficult to diagnose and treat effectively.
Credit: Vinit Mahajan, University of Iowa Health Care
Proteomics is the large-scale analysis of all the proteins in a cell type, tissue type, or organism. In contrast to genomics, which shows how genetic differences can indicate a person's potential for developing a disease over a lifetime, proteomics takes a real-time snapshot of a patient's protein profile during the disease. Doctors can use this information to tailor diagnosis and initiate treatment, sometimes long before a conventional diagnosis even begins to home in on a cause.
"Proteomics allows us to create a precision molecular diagnosis that's totally personalized for the patient," says Vinit Mahajan, M.D., Ph.D., UI clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences.
Mahajan's lab recently used proteomics to devise a successful treatment strategy for a patient with uveitis, a potentially blinding eye disease that can have many causes, making it particularly difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. The team's findings are described in a paper published online Feb. 4 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
The patient had been losing vision in one eye because of relapsing inflammation and swelling in the retina, with a buildup of scar tissue. The cause was unknown, so the treatment had consisted of a trial-and-error approach based on a clinical observation of the symptoms.
"Right now, there is no precision medicine for this kind of disease," Mahajan says.
Mahajan and his team then performed a proteomic analysis of fluid taken from the patient's eye and compared that protein profile to profiles of other patients' eye fluid. Gabriel Velez, a graduate student in Mahajan's lab, spotted a pattern that closely resembled those of two other patients who were known to have an autoimmune disorder that produces antibodies against the retina.
"Her symptoms didn't look exactly like the standard clinical diagnosis for that disease," says Nathaniel Roybal, M.D., Ph.D., a vitreoretinal surgical fellow working with Mahajan. "She was missing many features. But based on this pattern that we saw, we ordered a lab test to check if she makes anti-retinal antibodies. And sure enough, the test showed that she did. So we changed how we treated her."
Mahajan performed surgery and implanted a device that continuously releases a steroid into the eye. The patient's vision improved, and she no longer has relapses.
Alexander G. Bassuk, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at University of Iowa Children's Hospital, who co-authored the paper, says the value of personal proteomics extends beyond uveitis.
"We are using this platform to address other kinds of eye and inflammatory diseases where the best diagnosis and therapies for individual patients remain inadequate," Bassuk says.
While proteomics is being studied elsewhere, primarily for diagnostics, Mahajan says the UI implementation is unique because it uses a "whole-patient" approach that coordinates the collection, transport, storage, coding, and analysis of samples in a way that can directly and efficiently improve patient care.
"We were able to combine surgery and science and intelligently go back to the patient to decide on the optimal therapy," Mahajan says. "This is personalized precision medicine. It's the next step."
The study was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Research to Prevent Blindness.
Jennifer Brown | EurekAlert!
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology