Tuesday, 20 March 2012
iPOP: not a new gadget from Apple but a first example of comprehensive omic approach
Since the completion of the sequence of the human genome everybody is expecting for the great promises of Personalized Medicine to become reality, but the gap from genomic studies to real progress in personalized health care was larger than expected.
However, things are starting to change: this new masterpiece published in Cell demonstrates that an integrated omics approach is both feasible and useful for monitoring and prevention of diseases (in this case type 2 diabetes).
Image from Chen R. et al., Cell 148 (2012)
In this paper the authors report the results from a huge study based on a survey of several omics profiles, what they called iPOP (integrative Personal Omic Profile) including proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomic and genomics data, in an healthy individual over 14 months. During this period they have collected several peripheral blood samples and evaluated the changes in the various omics profiles in response to infections and other events.
This seems to me like the first fly by the Wright brothers in 1903: it was known that flying was theoretically possible, but they were the first ones to show that it can be a reality, even if only for a few meters. From that point on there was a rapid technological progression and now we have intercontinental and supersonic airplanes.
Now that the omics approach to personalized medicine has been proven to be feasible and also extremely informative, we expect a rapid progression from a single proof-of concept to routine screenings.
Citing the article discussion: "We focused on a generally healthy subject who exhibited no
apparent disease symptoms. This is a critical aspect of personalized medicine, which is to perform iPOP and evaluate the importance and changes of all the proﬁles in ordinary individuals. These results have important implications and suggest new paradigm shifts: ﬁrst, genome sequencing can be used to direct the monitoring of speciﬁc diseases (in this study, aplastic anemia and diabetes) and second, by following large numbers of molecules a more comprehensive view of disease states can be analyzed to follow physiological states. [...]
Although this cannot be proven with the analyses from a single individual, this study nonetheless serves as proof-of-principle that iPOP can be performed and provide valuable information. [...] Finally, we believe that the wealth of data generated from this study will serve as a valuable resource to the community in the developing ﬁeld of personalized medicine. A large database with the complete time-dynamic proﬁles for more individuals that acquire infections and other types of diseases will be extremely valuable in the early diagnostics, monitoring and treatment of diseased states."