Gene expression signature: a powerful approach for drug discovery in diabetes

    1. Kathryn Aston-Mourney1
    1. 1Metabolic Research Unit, School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
    2. 2School of Medicine, MMR, Bioinformatics Core Research Facility, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to K Aston-Mourney; Email: k.astonmourney{at}


    Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing in prevalence at an alarming rate around the world. Much effort has gone into the discovery and design of antidiabetic drugs; however, those already available are unable to combat the underlying causes of the disease and instead only moderate the symptoms. The reason for this is that T2D is a complex disease, and attempts to target one biological pathway are insufficient to combat the full extent of the disease. Additionally, the underlying pathophysiology of this disease is yet to be fully elucidated making it difficult to design drugs that target the mechanisms involved. Therefore, the approach of designing new drugs aimed at a specific molecular target is not optimal and a more expansive, unbiased approach is required. In this review, we will look at the current state of diabetes treatments and how these target the disease symptoms but are unable to combat the underlying causes. We will also review how the technique of gene expression signatures (GESs) has been used successfully for other complex diseases and how this may be applied as a powerful tool for the discovery of new drugs for T2D.

    • Received 28 November 2016
    • Accepted 7 December 2016
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 7 December 2016
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