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Optimal Treatments Based on Patients’ Genome Sequences

2014.02.04

Unit Name:
Genomic Medicine
Unit representative:
Professor Tadao Arinami, Faculty of Medicine

Unit members:
20 (18 faculty members, 1 postdoctoral fellow, 1 from other organizations)

Key words:
genomic medicine, human genetics, disease-associated genes, pharmacogenomics, personal genome

 

Some patients are susceptible to allergies, while others are not. Some patients can be treated by drugs, while others cannot. Some patients easily gain weight, while others do not. Why do such constitutional differences exist among individuals? Some of such differences can be explained by genome sequences. Our research unit conducts human genome analyses to elucidate the mechanisms of disease susceptibility and the efficacy and adverse effects of drugs, aimed at personalized medicine and drug discovery.

Slight differences in genome sequences result in constitutional differences among individuals.

Diseases such as schizophrenia, arthritis, and allergies are believed to be caused by “constitutional predispositions,” “environmental factors,” and “lifestyle factors” (Figure 1). Constitutional differences among individuals are closely related to slight differences in genome sequences. Differences in genomic sequences, detected at a frequency higher than 1% in the population, are referred to as genomic polymorphisms. Human genome analyses are employed to identify gene and genomic polymorphisms and rare genomic mutations involved in disease susceptibility and the efficacy and adverse effects of drugs.

Figure 1: Schizophrenia, arthritis, and atopic dermatitis

Figure 1: Schizophrenia, arthritis, and atopic dermatitis

Personalized medicine and drug discovery are the goals of genomic medicine.

Genome sequences are compared between patients and healthy individuals to identify polymorphisms responsible for predispositions to various diseases. Polymorphisms specific to patients are analyzed to identify genes responsible for disease susceptibility. The molecular mechanisms of diseases are analyzed to discover drugs that target molecules involved in the diseases (Figure 2). For example, DNA samples from patients with atopic dermatitis and mice prone to the condition are used to investigate atopic dermatitis*1 (Figure 3). Our research unit elucidates the pathogenic mechanisms of various diseases and develops treatments based on constitutions.
In the future, we will provide optimal treatment plans based on patients’ genomic information.

*1: Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disease involving itching of the skin, which repeats remission and deterioration. It affects wide age groups from infants to adults.

Figure 2: Genomic Medicine Research Unit

Figure 2: Genomic Medicine Research Unit


Figure 3 : Mouse with atopic dermatitis-like symptoms Disease susceptibility and treatments are investigated using mice prone to atopic dermatitis-like eczema.

Figure 3 : Mouse with atopic dermatitis-like symptoms
Disease susceptibility and treatments are investigated using mice prone to atopic dermatitis-like eczema.

Social contributions and achievements
●Identification of disease susceptibility and clinical course- and drug response-related genes and promotion of anthropological and forensic studies.
●Elucidation of genomic diversity, mutation sites, and genome structure diversity causing diseases by analyses using high-speed sequencers.
●Elucidation of pathogenic pathways and drug discovery seeds by functional analyses of genomic diversity and mutation sites.
●Establishment of a clinical research system for drug discovery seeds and biomarkers.
●Contribution to genome medical practice through the construction of personal genome analysis systems for rare and familial diseases.
●Education in genomic medicine essential for medical researchers and health care workers in the future.

(Interviewed on October 16, 2013)


Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434