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What is next after the genes for autoimmunity?

John Castiblanco1234, Mauricio Arcos-Burgos5 and Juan-Manuel Anaya1*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research (CREA), School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Carrera 24 #63-C-69, Bogota, Colombia

2 Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia

3 Center for Personalized Medicine, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA

4 Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA

5 Genome Biology Department, John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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BMC Medicine 2013, 11:197  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-197

Published: 4 September 2013

Abstract

Clinical pathologies draw us to envisage disease as either an independent entity or a diverse set of traits governed by common physiopathological mechanisms, prompted by environmental assaults throughout life. Autoimmune diseases are not an exception, given they represent a diverse collection of diseases in terms of their demographic profile and primary clinical manifestations. Although they are pleiotropic outcomes of non-specific disease genes underlying similar immunogenetic mechanisms, research generally focuses on a single disease. Drastic technologic advances are leading research to organize clinical genomic multidisciplinary approaches to decipher the nature of human biological systems. Once the currently costly omic-based technologies become universally accessible, the way will be paved for a cleaner picture to risk quantification, prevention, prognosis and diagnosis, allowing us to clearly define better phenotypes always ensuring the integrity of the individuals studied. However, making accurate predictions for most autoimmune diseases is an ambitious challenge, since the understanding of these pathologies is far from complete. Herein, some pitfalls and challenges of the genetics of autoimmune diseases are reviewed, and an approximation to the future of research in this field is presented.

Keywords:
Autoimmunity; Common; Genetics; Genomics; Personalized; Predictive medicine; Polyautoimmunity; Translational medicine