Department of Biomedical Informatics

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Team Approach to Translate Novel Biomarkers for Diabetes

Research Topic: 
Robert Greenes
Randall Nelson (ASU Biodesign)
Sudhir Kumar (ASU Biodesign)

Diabetes is estimated to be the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and is found to occur disproportionately in minority populations. The prevalence of diabetes increased by 50 percent from 1990 to 2000, and is still on the rise. The estimated total national cost of diabetes in 2007 was $174 billion, the majority going directly to medical expenditures. Diabetes is responsible for 12,000-24,000 new cases of blindness each year and is the leading cause of kidney failure, responsible for ~150,000 patients with end-stage kidney disease. It is also responsible for 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations - 82,000 in 2002 were due to diabetes. In response to this epidemic, there are currently more than 350 candidate drugs in development, making diabetes second only to cancer in health-related R&D focus. Concurrent with the need for better treatments, there is a recognized need to produce sets of improved biomarkers able to better assess efficacy, sub-type populations, and to longitudinally monitor disease progression and response to treatment. On this project, the team will create a highly integrated, multidisciplinary research team specifically assembled to discover, validate and translate novel biomarkers for diabetes (and its complications) into improved commercial diagnostics. The envisioned biomarkers will better predict the onset of disease and define the optimal therapeutic or pharmaceutical interventions to significantly improve patient outcomes. During this initial seed period, a team of unique and highly experienced researchers has been assembled with technical, clinical, informatics and translational expertise, along with external industrial partners, to design programmatic investigations into protein biomarkers to address the critical needs in drug development and patient diagnosis and monitoring.