When I published the 40 trends that shape the future of medicine white paper, this is what I wrote about optogenetics:
Optogenetics is a neuromodulation technique using a combination of methods from optics and genetics to control the activity of individual neurons in living tissue. Optogenetics will provide new solutions in therapies. A recent study published in Science reported that scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice. This is the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. By time, we will understand the placebo effect clearly; and just imagine the outcomes we can reach when false memories of taking drugs can be generated in humans as well. The ultimate goal is to be able to modulate our senses, repair lost senses or even perform specific DNA targeting with femtosecond laser.
Well, here is a great new explanation from MIT News:
Christian Assad-Kottner and his colleagues published the first paper focusing on the medical use of Google Glass: Wearable technology to improve education and patient outcomes in a cardiology fellowship program – a feasibility study.
Graduate medical education (GME) is a balance between providing optimal patient care while ensuring that trainees (residents and fellows) develop independent medical decision making skills as well as the ability to manage serious medical conditions. We used one form of wearable technology (“Google Glass”) to explore different scenarios in cardiovascular practice where fellows can better their education.
By the way, a quick tip! I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because it makes sure I only post creative content and avoid plagiarism. Check it out!
Without doubt, the future belongs to interdisciplinary innovations and just to show you a recent and practical example why I’m saying that, see what neurosurgeons at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center just did.
They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance for delivering gene therapy as a potential treatment for brain tumors.
Using MRI navigational technology, neurosurgeons can inject Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a novel investigational gene therapy, directly into a brain malignancy. This new approach offers a precise way to deliver a therapeutic virus designed to make the tumor susceptible to cancer-killing drugs.
“With MRI, we can see the tumor light up in real time during drug infusion. The rest of the brain remains unaffected so the risk of the procedure is minimized.”
Medical professionals in any specialties have to start looking at the same medical problem from different angles and as medical education focuses on giving you a very much specialized knowledge, social media and other digital technologies can help us get glimples into other areas looking for new ways of collaboration.
It’s a pleasure to announce that our recent paper (the last piece of my PhD) was just published in Genome Medicine. The title is “Peripheral blood derived gene panels predict response to infliximab in rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease“.
Biological therapies have been introduced to the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Crohn’s disease (CD). The efficacy of biologics differs from patient to patient. Moreover these therapies are rather expensive, therefore treatment of primary non-responders should be avoided.
We addressed this issue by combining gene expression profiling and biostatistical approaches. We performed peripheral blood global gene expression profiling in order to filter the genome for target genes in cohorts of 20 CD and 19 RA patients. Then RT-qPCR validation was performed, followed by multivariate analyses of genes in independent cohorts of 20 CD and 15 RA patients, in order to identify sets of interrelated genes that can separate responders from non-responders to the humanized chimeric anti-TNFalpha antibody infliximab at baseline.
Gene panels separating responders from non-responders were identified using leave-one-out cross-validation test, and a pool of genes that should be tested on larger cohorts was created in both conditions.
Our data show that peripheral blood gene expression profiles are suitable for determining gene panels with high discriminatory power to differentiate responders from non-responders in infliximab therapy at baseline in CD and RA, which could be cross-validated successfully. Biostatistical analysis of peripheral blood gene expression data leads to the identification of gene panels that can help predict responsiveness of therapy and support the clinical decision-making process.
As usual, I’m more than happy to receive feedback!
I’ve recently come across an interesting application, Pubchase, that would like to serve as a search and recommendation tool in the biomedical literature.
As the user saves articles to his or her library, PubChase recommends newly-published articles that are relevant to the individual. This is a free service, available on the web, iOS, or Android devices.
The heart of PubChase is not simply a pretty mobile interface to the published literature. With over 100,000 biomedical articles published each month, our hope is to enable scientists to discover new research important to them, no matter where it is published (as opposed to simply scanning tables of contents of high-impact journals, as many of us commonly do now).
I found this video about how Thomson Reuters helps researchers transform a scientific discovery into a life-saving drug interesting. I’ve never heard about such services in research.
Two weeks ago, my childhood dream became true and I finished PhD therefore becoming a medical geneticist. If you are interested in the pharmacogenomic implications of autoimmune conditions, here is my PhD thesis in PDF format.
In modern science, you have no chance of doing significant research without grant money, but individuals can have great scientific ideas and projects. This is when Rockethub comes into place and people can actually try to crowdsource money for that. Finally, a project just made the required money hours before the deadline.
It is time to experiment with the way we experiment. Using the Internet, we will enable the public to fund and participate in an open model of basic scientific research.
The Web, itself the fruit of curiosity-driven basic research, has transformed every industry and creative endeavor it has touched, promoting collaboration, openness and efficiency. But scientists are stuck in a closed, pre-Internet mindset. We aim to change that.
Who are we, and what do we want to do? For 5 years, Ethan Perlstein’s lab at Princeton University has been developing a new evolutionary approach to studying how drugs work. For nearly 2 decades, David Sulzer’s lab at Columbia Med School has been a leader in the study of how drugs affect the brain.
I’m incredibly happy right now as I just successfully defended my PhD thesis entitled “Peripheral Blood Gene Expression Profiling as a Tool in Exploring Pharmacogenomics of Autoimmune Disease” at the University of Debrecen meaning that I became a geneticist which was a childhood dream of mine.
Many thanks for all the support throughout the last 3 years! What’s next? Becoming a medical futurist.
Here is my thesis and here is a photo after the celebration with my fiancée.
Next Monday (19, November) is going to be a very important day in my life as my PhD defense will take place that day at the University of Debrecen. Of course, I’m going to make the thesis public soon.
The title of the thesis:
Peripheral Blood Gene Expression Profiling as a Tool in Exploring the Pharmacogenomics of Autoimmune Diseases
- Prof. Margit Zeher (head of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Debrecen)
- Dr. Joel Dudley (Director of Biomedical Informatics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine)
Wish me luck!