Twenty-First Century Diseases: Commonly Rare and Rarely Common?

Sylvia Daunert, Gurusingham Sitta Sittampalam, Pascal J. Goldschmidt-Clermont

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Alzheimer's drugs are failing at a rate of 99.6%, and success rate for drugs designed to help patients with this form of dementia is 47 times less than for drugs designed to help patients with cancers (www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-alzheimer-s-drugs-keep-failing/2014). How can it be so difficult to produce a valuable drug for Alzheimer's disease? Each human has a unique genetic and epigenetic makeup, thus endowing individuals with a highly unique complement of genes, polymorphisms, mutations, RNAs, proteins, lipids, and complex sugars, resulting in distinct genome, proteome, metabolome, and also microbiome identity. This editorial is taking into account the uniqueness of each individual and surrounding environment, and stresses the point that a more accurate definition of a "common" disorder could be simply the amalgamation of a myriad of "rare" diseases. These rare diseases are being grouped together because they share a rather constant complement of common features and, indeed, generally respond to empirically developed treatments, leading to a positive outcome consistently. We make the case that it is highly unlikely that such treatments, despite their statistical success measured with large cohorts using standardized clinical research, will be effective on all patients until we increase the depth and fidelity of our understanding of the individual "rare" diseases that are grouped together in the "buckets" of common illnesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Volume27
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2017

Keywords

  • 21st century medicine
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • common illnesses
  • rare diseases
  • sudden cardiac death
  • virus cooperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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