Doctor visits can be annoying, especially if you have to take several blood samples to test for a handful of common ailments, not to mention to look for something that might be hard to diagnose. But a new study advises that a novel technique could make this whole process much easier. The research and development that has set the tone for advancements in modern medicine are also helping to make medicine and other treatments more efficient across the board.
For example, health researchers now say they have developed a straightforward blood test that could allow physicians to assess a wide range of ailments and health factors from just one blood sample. Scientists at the University of Cambridge and the University of California-San Francisco—in partnership with biotech SomaLogic HQ—used several blood samples (from a total of approximately 17,000 patients) to scan 5,000 proteins.
The researchers processed this data using statistical analysis as well as machine learning technology to develop “predictive models” for a variety of common health problems.
Study author Claudia Langenberg, of the University of Cambridge, explains, “Proteins circulating in our blood are a manifestation of our genetic make-up as well as many other factors, such as behaviors or the presence of disease, even if not yet diagnosed.”
This is why, she further notes, proteins are known to be such effective indicators of both our present and future health states. With this data we are able to better improve clinical prediction of a handful of different diseases.
Reinforcing her statement, SomaLogic CEO Stephen Williams comments, “It’s remarkable that plasma protein patterns alone can faithfully represent such a wide variety of common and important health issues, and we think that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Indeed, this is only the beginning for this method of diagnostics. With more in-depth research and scanning of proteins, there is great potential to map fully individualized health assessments for all patients.
Finally, co-lead author Peter Ganz, University of California-San Francisco comments that this new research marks a crucial milestone in the scientific development of personalized preventative medicine. Ganz is a member of SomaLogic’s Medical Advisory board, but is not compensated for holding the position.
He explains, “This proof-of-concept study demonstrates a new paradigm that measurement of blood proteins can accurately deliver health information that spans across numerous medical specialties and that should be actionable for patients and their health care providers.”