You and your lovely proteins.

We need you to stay extra focused on this one, it's definitely the most advanced issue of Smart Cocktail so far. But as always, if you bare with us you will look a lot smarter than the rest of the pack (even without a doctor's degree in Proteomics). 

First we need a small blood sample. It will just be a little pin prick. Comfortably numb? Good! Now its time to look into the very recipe of you with a new revolutionary way of profiling proteins together with Swedish company Olink. Having the means to examine proteins gives a number of interesting answers and possibly some you don’t even want to know. Like how long will I live? Trust us, this is all good news. To explain, let’s take a plunge into a tiny drop of blood and far, far beyond!

But first we need to make quick detour to Iceland! Having a population of just over 300,000 they have a pretty good registry of people, cause of death and hereditary diseases. This huge database is one piece of the puzzle which we are going to map your specific profile against.

– Are you sure were not related? (they actually have an app for that…)

When researchers first got the idea to host the great “Decode the Human Genome Party,” little did they know that the tab would round up to roughly USD 3,000,000,000 and last for 13 years. But when the smoke had cleared, mankind ended up with a gold mine of information. For the first time ever we had the godly power of knowing 99% of what makes us human. But genes themselves cannot give us all the answers, we have 21,000 of them, but so does a worm! The difference is proteins (and legs, plus a few other things). Proteins serve as the base plate upon which we will compare your unique signature.

This is way too much blood for us…

Let’s look for some proteins!

We don't need a whole drop, a thousandth of a milliliter will do. When having a look  around in the blood drop things will start to get exiting. Your body is busy producing thousands of different proteins, right to left. Some are assigned to keep your hair style intact and others are a total failure risking your life. Much like a night in Vegas!

So, now we have blood, a huge database for comparison and the knowledge of almost all the genes is your body. Now it's finally time to gear up Olink's equipment and roll the dice. Let's say your signature turned out to be X, B, 8, C, 7, F, G, F, 1, S, C, S - we might now have an indication that you’re not in the risk zone to develop diabetes 2. But what makes Olink's method so special is they can compare other factors such as the risk of stroke and other potential health problems in the same run. It’s like having Avicii mixing classic, rap, country, jazz and heavy metal at the same time in 22 different locations!

This is huge for medical research since almost ⅔ of all meds don't even offer patients the right treatment. Olink’s method can help scientists figure out what needs to be done to predict diseases while they still have a good chance to be treated, and based on your signature, what drugs to use for an actual effect!

Another interesting benefit of profiling proteins is that it offers a possibility to look into the concept of age. Since no-one wants to dress older than 35 these days, it’s hard to tell a person's actual age. But looking younger than your protein-age is a whole other swagger, at least if you plan to be around for a while. A recent study at Uppsala University reveals that if you compare proteins on a same-aged group, they will confirm the biological age really well. Knowing this, profiles will spill the beans on how good or bad life habits can make you biologically older or younger.

– I´m really 65, but I am regular about my three cups of coffee...

Guess what: smoking makes your body think it is up to 6 years older than it actually is, but there is better news for all you (moderate) caffeine junkies out there. A daily intake of three cups of java will make your body think it’s 5 years younger!

At Smart Cocktail we are fascinated by this scientific breakthrough and we look forward to follow Olinks development in the future. Or to quote Steven Wright; - I intend to live forever ... So far, so good!

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SmartCocktail is a monthly blog celebrating Swedish innovation
and engineering within the fields of industry and biotech.