A genomic approach to human autoimmune diseases
The past decade has seen an explosion in the use of DNA-based microarrays. These techniques permit assessment of RNA abundance on a genome-wide scale. Medical applications emerged in the field of cancer, with studies of both solid tumors and hematological malignancies leading to the development of tests that are now used to personalize therapeutic options. Microarrays have also been used to analyze the blood transcriptome in a wide range of diseases. In human autoimmune diseases, these studies are showing potential for identifying therapeutic targets as well as biomarkers for diagnosis, assessment of disease activity, and response to treatment. More quantitative and sensitive high-throughput RNA profiling methods are starting to be available and will be necessary for transcriptome analyses to become routine tests in the clinical setting. We expect this to crystallize within the coming decade, as these methods become part of the personalized medicine armamentarium.