Mathematics helping reduce cost of diabetes

 In News

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: 4 December 2015

With an ageing population and obesity crisis, Type 2 diabetes costs Australian taxpayers over $1.7 billion per year. Hoping to save lives and dollars, Australian researchers believe they have opened the door to diagnosing insulin resistance (IR), one of the earliest predictors of the disease.

The team, including AMSI BioInfoSummer 2015 speakers and Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney diabetes researchers, Professor David James and Dr Rima Chaudhuri, have used the power of mathematics to identify a set of genes they believe is able to discriminate between insulin sensitivity and resistance.

“Currently there is no way to diagnose insulin resistance, a key indicator of type 2 diabetes. Excitingly this gene set appears to perform better than existing crude measures such as BMI, waist-hip ratio and blood glucose levels,” says Professor David James.

Published in leading journal, Nature Systems Biology & Applications, the research led by Dr Chaudhuri used cutting-edge computational approaches to develop a gene signature for insulin sensitivity (a pattern of genetic expression that describes how the body responds to insulin). While still in the early stages, initial predictive modelling based tests has indicated promise for clinical application following further investigation.

“The ability to identify at risk individuals and prevent onset of type 2 diabetes through measures such as diet and exercise could significantly reduce the health and economic impacts of not only the disease itself but its associated complications.”

The research highlights the growing role of bioinformatics in analysing and modelling biological structures and processes as new technology platforms increase the amount of data produced by researchers. Experts such Professor James and Dr Chaudhuri are playing an increasing role in driving health innovation and discovery.

The rapid pace of technological advancement continues to fuel demand for bioinformatics to analyse and apply large volumes of data. Leading Australian and global bioinformaticians create a unique training experience at AMSI BioInfoSummer, exposing students, researchers and field professionals to the cutting edge of mathematical and computational biology.

“The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) sets the gold standard for cross-discipline research training infrastructure. Programs such as AMSI BioInfoSummer help skill researchers to drive innovation in industry to position Australia as a global STEM leader,” says AMSI Director, Professor Geoff Prince.

AMSI BioInfoSummer 2015 runs from 7 – 11 December at the University of Sydney.

AMSI BioInfoSummer is jointly funded by the Department of Education and Training and the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, with support from the Australian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Society and EMBL Australia.

 

Media Contact:
Laura Watson
E: media@amsi.org.au
P: 0421 518 733

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