diabetes type 2

Three subtypes of type 2 diabetes patients have been identified by Mount Sinai researchers, who have called for more tailored diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, evaluated the electronic medical records of around 2,500 people with type 2 diabetes. Subtypes were classified based on patterns of clinical characteristics and disease comorbidities, with genentic information, health and symptoms of the patients evaluated.

Using genetic association analysis, over 300 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified as being specific to three different subtypes. SNPs are variations in population-based DNA sequences.

Lead author Joel Dudley, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, said the findings displayed “statistically meaningful differences between patients.”

In subtype 1, patients were more likely to be obese, have diabetic retinopathy and kidney disease. In subtype 2, patients had an increased propensity for both cancer and heart disease, but were less likely to be obese, while in subtype 3, patients had a greater prevalence of mental illness and allergies as well as a enhanced likelihood of heart disease.

Dudley added: “This project demonstrates the very real promise of precision medicine to improve healthcare by tailoring diagnosis and treatment to each patient, as well as by learning from each patient.

“Our approach demonstrates the potential to unlock clinically meaningful patient population subgroups from the wealth of information that is accumulating in electronic medical record systems.”

Dudley and his team concluded that customised treatment regimens need to be targeted for type 2 diabetes, and that more research is necessary to confirm these findings in other groups of patients.

This study was published in Science Translational Medicine.