Conclusions

Functional genomic approaches combined with advanced phenotypic characterization and computational algorithms are new powerful methods. Application of these methods for DN shows great promise but also poses challenges for investigators. Microarrays make it possible to investigate differential gene expression in normal vs diseased tissue, in treated vs nontreated tissue, and in different stages during the natural course of a disease, all on a genomic scale. Gene expression profiles may help to unlock the molecular basis of phenotype, response to treatment, and heterogeneity of disease. They may also help to define patterns of expression that will aid in diagnosis as well as define susceptibility loci that may lead to the identification of individuals at risk. Finally, as specific genes are identified and their functional roles in the development and course of disease are characterized, new targets for therapy should emerge. The overall goal is to obtain complementary information that allows a stringent prediction concerning the diagnosis, prognosis and differential therapy of DN.

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