In the fields of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic technologies many advances have been made in the past few years for the early diagnosis and monitoring of diseases such as diabetes mellitus. As diabetes is afflicting affluent and developing societies throughout the world and is fuelled by aging demographics and the recent increase of obesity and related insulin resistance, there is a clear need to discover effective agents for diagnosing the disease and controlling glycaemic status. Biological markers such as peptides, proteins, metabolites, nucleic acids and polymorphisms have been proposed as novel exciting biomarkers. Patents have been filed demonstrating altered levels of proteins such as pancreatic polypeptide in beta cell failure and fibronectin and futuin-A in insulin resistance. Much interest has focused on the potential of glycosylated proteins such as glycated insulin, glycosylated amylin, C-terminally truncated form of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products, and glycated LDL antibodies. The emergence of genomic analysis is now complemented by systems biology and computational methods that can unravel large amounts of heterogeneous genetic and genomic information to produce meaningful results. Many patents have been filed that claim to estimate the susceptibility or predisposition of metabolic disease such as diabetes. New genomic technologies such as transcriptional profiling and proteomics have been shown to be significant in identifying and validating biomarkers, and systems biology has shown great promise in unravelling the complexities of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic technologies.
School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, U.K.