Israeli Scientists Track Moleculor Markers for Type II Diabetes

February 6, 2012  

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have isolated the early moleculor indicators showing that a person is at risk for developing Type II diabetes. Some half a million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in Israel, which has been classified in two types.

A team at the university’s Institute of Medical Research-Israel/Canada led by Dr. Assaf Hellman has developed a novel multi-step study design that involves the analysis of epigenetic variations that contribute to the disease.

Until now, direct evidence of epigenetic variations related to the condition — small molecular marks superimposed on the DNA structure — has been missing.

Such marks characterize the susceptibility to Type II diabetes, as well as to other human disease conditions, researchers say.

In Hellman’s study, researchers mapped the epigenetics of hundreds of patients with T2D (Type II Diabetes) and compared them with the epigenetics of healthy control subjects. Significant differences in the epigenetics were found in a large number of patients, making a clear distinction between those who were healthy, and those who were not.

“This method of mapping epigenetics allows a much more efficient prediction of risks to the disease in young people that have not yet showed any other symptoms of the disease,” Hellman explained.

Researchers are hoping the discovery will contribute to the development of future medications and other ways to prevent T2D as well as other conditions, such as metabolic, autoimmune and psychiatric disorders. 

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