Advances in diagnostic techniques and high-throughput biotechnologies provide a compelling opportunity to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by developing a “New Taxonomy” that defines diseases on the basis of their underlying molecular and environmental factors rather than on traditional physical signs and symptoms. Oncology represents the first interesting example of how genomic medicine has changed the understanding of diseases and their therapy. However, much work remains to be completed on the molecular characterization and classification of complex and multifactorial diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders. Our research group has recently shown the genomic heterogeneity of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS), identifying two divergent subtypes associated with differentially expressed genes and pathways and providing several potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. This chapter reviews the results emerged from our work, highlighting how molecular characterization of SALS patients may provide a framework for developing a more precise and accurate classification of diseases that could revolutionize the diagnosis, therapy, and clinical decisions of diseases, leading to more individualized treatments and improved outcomes for patients.
Part of the book: Update on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis