Commentaries & Reviews

We should be able to predict disease progression

The Power of Prediction is Prevention. The advantage to being able to predict disease onset is that illness is often easier to prevent than reverse. The idea that disease can be predicted is based on the notion that biological abnormalities can be detected in the human body before disease onset. In some cases, such as type 1 diabetes, the disease process develops over many years without any clinical signs. What’ s more, there is a “no going back” stage before diagnosed that tells us that diabetes is inevitable. At SDBRI, we are testing strategies to identify children who will become diabetic before they go into a “no going back” stage. Being able to detect this very early stage of disease will allow us to select children for treatment that will set them on a different course, protecting them from diabetes onset. We are currently designing similar strategies to predict who will develop cancer, and which patients who have been treated for cancer will have a recurrence. If we are successful, patients at risk can be identified and treated early to prevent cancer development and progression. The Prediction Project is a joint venture between scientists at SDBRI, blood donors from the community, and financial contributions from the NIH and private donors to identify factors in the blood that can predict who will develop diabetes and cancer.

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