Researchers discover 27 networks of proteins in blood influence the development of chronic disease


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This is fascinating.. @Janet Dafoe (Rose49), what does Ron think of this research?

A segment of the article:

It turns out that the blood-stream contains multiple complex regulatory networks of proteins that orchestrate health, a finding published online in Science on August 2, 2018. The Novartis-IHA team found 27 networks, each a unique set of proteins whose levels rise and fall together in the blood stream in synchrony, a bit like a chorus singing a distinct song. When a network isn’t operating in perfect harmony, disease can develop.

“We’re talking about hundreds of proteins that are produced by multiple organs all changing their levels together as a single regulatory group,” says co-first author John Lamb, Director of Genetics at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF). “These regulatory networks are very strongly related to genetics and disease.”

The networks can’t be seen or heard in a physical exam. They aren’t traceable with a dye and they can’t be inferred by reading the genome. Rather, they became evident only when the research team leveraged big data – in this case, a complex and massive conglomeration of data from medical exams, gene sequencing and measures of proteins in blood culled from IHA’s data banks.

“This is a different way of thinking. It’s not classic linear thinking,” says co-first author Valur Emilsson, head of systems medicine at IHA and professor at the University of Iceland. “Diseases are complex, so you cannot shy away from the complexity.”

The research team believes these regulatory networks could hold the keys to finding new ways to detect, monitor or even treat age-related diseases that take a major toll on individuals, communities and societies. Heart disease alone affects more than 17 million people and results in nearly a third of deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.