Guest Blog: PrecisionLife - World Diabetes Day

What does your company do to help tackle diabetes?
PrecisionLife is the leading techbio company driving precision medicine in diabetes and other chronic diseases. Our unique combinatorial analytics approach uncovers deep biological insights, not visible through any other method, to enable the discovery, development, and delivery of better, more personalized therapy options. With these insights we partner with patient charities, researchers, drug developers and healthcare to help people with diabetes and other chronic diseases to live longer, healthier lives.

Tell us about the latest project you’re working on?
Type-II diabetes-related complications create some of the most significant health and economic burdens in developed and developing countries. Complications associated with type-II diabetes include renal failure, neuropathies, blindness, and cardiovascular impacts including heart disease, stroke, ulcers and amputations. They account for 80% of the huge diabetes treatment costs and are directly responsible for poor quality of life for patients, with higher long-term social care costs and mortality rates.

PrecisionLife analysed a dataset from the UK Biobank, comparing cases with a variety of type 2 diabetes-associated complications against controls who had also been diagnosed with diabetes and had similar BMI measurements, but had not (yet) developed any complications.

We found significant genetic differences between the two populations, indicating that there is a subset of diabetic patients with additional genetic features that predispose them to severe diabetes and diabetes related complications, independent of lifestyle and environmental factors.

Our analysis revealed several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genes that were highly associated with the development of specific diabetes related complications. These associations would not have been found using standard Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) analysis techniques.

Having stratified this case population into distinct complication-specific subtypes, we identified individual genes and biological mechanisms associated with each. These high-resolution disease insights enable novel drug discovery, the development of combinatorial risk scores, and combinatorial biomarkers to distinguish the patient subgroups and evaluate individual risk.

 

What are your next steps/future plans?
We are using these high-resolution patient-stratification insights to identify patients most at risk, and form targeted educational and therapeutic interventions for them. This could result in greater prevention of disease progression and better patient outcomes, reducing the health and economic burden caused by diabetes complications.

Further information can be found at www.precisionlife.com/diabetes