Tuesday, 15 May 2012


iPOP, the Answer to Stopping a Man’s Diabetes?

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Figure 1: Michael Snyder (Cohen, 2012).
Michael Snyder, now 56 years old and a molecular geneticist at Stanford University, began a study 2 years ago which allowed a team of scientists to create a detailed biological profile of a human being, the most advanced of its kind yet. This study took the form of an N of 1 trial, in which Snyder became his own test subject. Whilst contracting two viral infections during the study, Snyder also discovered he had type 2 diabetes

This study is focused on an integrated personal omics profile (iPOP); the iPOP is a combination of genomic (study of DNA), transcriptomic (RNA molecules), protemonic (study of protein), and metabolomic (study of metabolism). Over a 14 month long period Snyders blood was analysed 20 different times in order to obtain a variety of biochemical data (Cohen, 2012). The combination of these omics allowed scientists to discover a dynamic change in diverse molecular components and biological pathways across healthy and diseased conditions (Stanford University, 2012). When first beginning this study Snyder contracted a cold, this virus altered the human body and could be looked at in more detail than ever before; also the initial sequencing of his genome showed an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. However, Snyder being a healthy individual with no weight problems and no family history was not concerned about this discovery. Although his team still monitored his insulin and glucose levels closely, biomarkers associated with diabetes. When a second virus called syncytial virus infected his respiratory system it was noted that a large rise in glucose levels occurred immediately after the virus was contracted. The full results can be found in a recent issue of Cell, dated March 16 2012: http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674%2812%2900166-3?utm_source=ECE001&utm_campaign=&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&bid=P5SP63F:5PCQ4 (Cohen, 2012).  
Figure 2: General abstract of iPOP (Stanford University, 2012)
Later Snyder was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by his doctor. After getting this diagnosis Snyder changed his diet and began exercising and after 6 months his glucose levels returned to the norm (Cohen, 2012). Snyder stopped his diabetes in its tracks, proving how the future of the iPOP system could be very promising. The field of using genetic information is still very new, the technology is growing swiftly, which can be observed with the iPOP system (Allday, 2012). Studying an individual such as Snyder, would allow personalised medicine to greatly improve. Each person would have their own diagnosis, prognosis and treatment based on their specific results. 

The iPOP has moved past static genome sequences that merely look at the structure of DNA. This study can look at the dynamic molecular changes in our body as you experience them in response to stimuli within the environment. Snyder, the leader of this study has been noted to say, “When you go to the doctor's office and they do a blood test, they typically measure no more than 20 things. With the technology out there now, we feel you should be able to measure thousands if not tens of thousands if not ultimately millions of things. That would be a much clearer picture of what's going on.” (Cohen, 2012). 

The future of personalised medicine is on the rise thank you to Michael Snyder and his team. Soon enough the term iPOP will be catching on.



References:
Allday, E 2012, Stanford gene researchers see diabetes develop, San Francisco Chronicle, viewed 19 March 2012, <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/15/BAMD1NKUNI.DTL>

Cohen, J 2012, Examining His Own Body, Stanford Geneticist Stops Diabetes in Its Tracks, Science NOW, viewed 19 March 2012, <http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/03/examining-his-own-body-stanford-.html?rss=1&fb_source=message#.T2Syfa9Z5SU.reddit>
Stanford University 2012, Personal Omics Profiling Reveals Dynamic Molecular and Medical Phenotypes, Cell, viewed 19 March 2012, < http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674%2812%2900166-3?utm_source=ECE001&utm_campaign=&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&bid=P5SP63F:5PCQ4#Summary>

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