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The discovery that will advance personalized medicine for infectious diseases

This is the first time that researchers succeed in developing personalized tools for infectious diseases, which until now have only been developed for specific diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's

Personalized Medicine Illustrated: depositphotos.com
Personalized medicine Illustration: depositphotos.com

An infectious disease is a condition in which a microorganism (virus, bacterium or parasite) managed to penetrate and reproduce in the human body, causing direct damage to the body's cells. The damage to the body may also be indirect, as a result of the reaction of the immune system against that disease-causing agent (pathogen), for example creating inflammation. Until now, the world of science has studied the immune response as one 'block', but a research team at Aviv University was able to classify, through experiments and computational tools, two central components of the immune response that operate during a severe infectious disease. The meaning of the discovery is an opening to the world of personalized medicine in the field of infectious diseases and the provision of effective treatments to patients. For example, instead of deciding to give a uniform medicine to all patients, for example a penicillin antibiotic, according to the classification and the ratio between the two ingredients found, the doctor will decide exactly which medicine he should give to the patient and in what dosage. This is the first time that researchers succeed in developing personalized tools for infectious diseases, tools that until now have only been developed for specific diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's.

Zoom has no effect on the immune system

The research was directed by researchers Prof. Irit Gat-Weeks and Prof. Eran Bacharach, led by doctoral students Ofir Cohen and Gal Yankovitz From the Shmunis School of Biomedical and Cancer Research, at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences. The study was published in the prestigious journal "Cell Systems".

"In the general population, people will react differently to infections and therefore there is a need for medical tools that will indicate how each person is expected to react to a certain infectious disease," explains Prof. Gat-Wicks and expands "Until now, there have been very general indicators in the scientific world to characterize these diseases, such as inflammatory markers , fever, urine tests, etc. A reaction, which in these measures will appear uniform, can actually be divided into different reactions in dealing with the cause of the disease. In extreme cases, as we have seen for example in the corona epidemic, the person's immune response to the virus can reach a fatal state, and preliminary identification of its response can help us save lives. Our new observation and compartmentalization of the inflammatory response has given us the ability to find new indicators and markers that exist in our bodies, right in the bloodstream. Meaning, from a simple blood sample we can learn a lot more about the health status of the person who got sick, and give him more comprehensive treatment according to the development of the infection in his body."

"We were able to observe the response of the immune system in deep resolution, and identify two main types of response: one, in which the immune system fights a pathogen that has entered the body, and the other type, in which the damage to the body is repaired 'after the war' with the pathogen. In our research, we used disease models in animals, computational tools, and information collected from people with different markers in their bodies that are an indication of the type of response to the pathogen," explains Prof. Bacharach.

"Actually, personalized medicine exists today in 'regular' diseases such as cancer, but there is almost no use of personal medicine tools in the field of infectious diseases. People with extreme reactions to infection with microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, currently lack an adequate medical response. We believe that thanks to this research, doctors will be able to better diagnose the patient's condition and, as a result, provide effective treatment that will improve the patient's chances of recovery. We aim to continue the research and discover more subgroups with different reactions among the population, so that we can help doctors to make their diagnosis more accurate and provide an adequate response to patients", concludes Prof. Gat-Weeks.

Prof. Irit Gat-Weeks and Prof. Eran Bacharach