Precision medicine has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Increasing evidence is demonstrating that a patient’s unique genetic profile can be used to detect the disease’s onset, prevent its progression, and optimize its treatment. This led to the increased global efforts to implement personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics in clinical practice, particularly in a case of chronic pandemic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Diabetes represents one of the major public health issues affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide, with an increasing prevalence of 16% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). If left untreated, diabetes can lead to severe complications including blindness, kidney and heart disease, stroke, and reduced life expectancy. Up to one-third of all deaths in adult UAE nationals with T2DM could be attributed to non-optimal glucose level control.
Although there is an increasing evidence of genetic factors being involved in T2DM development in different ethnic groups around the world, there are limited studies performed in the Arab population. Therapeutic response to metformin, a first‐line drug for T2DM, is highly variable, which can also be partially attributed to genetic factors. However, metformin pharmacogenomic studies have inconsistent results in different ethnicities and no studies were performed yet in the Emirati population.
Therefore, this project is focused on two major objectives related to use of precision medicine in T2DM, including precise disease diagnosis by identifying potential new biomarkers, and precise treatment by analyzing pharmacogenetic variants associated with glycemic response to oral antidiabetic medications, such as metformin. This project has a high potential to enhance the quality of life of affected individuals, as well as to develop additional strategies for T2DM prevention, optimization of its treatment, all potentially leading to reduced healthcare costs in the UAE. This may also result in the identification of novel target genes, leading to development of novel medicines to treat diabetes.