Dr. Joe Gleeson studied chemistry as an undergraduate at UC San Diego. While in college, he frequently volunteered at a hospital and decided that practicing medicine would be a great way to apply his understanding of chemistry. Particularly, he wanted to figure out how the brain works while focusing on brain disease. Dr. Gleeson continued his education by attending the Pritzker Medical School at the University of Chicago, and then completed his residency and fellowship at Harvard. While in medical school, his eyes were opened to child neurology – understanding how the brain forms and how humans mature.
Immediately upon practicing pediatrics, Dr. Gleeson noticed that most patients suffering from rare diseases didn’t have or would never receive a diagnosis. It was obvious to him that to change the lives of these patients, researchers must learn more about the diseases to allow physicians to not just treat the symptoms, but to combat the gene to reduce the severity of the phenotypes.
Diagnosing a rare disease can be incredibly difficult. Genomics has made a massive difference in the medical field over the past 10 years by allowing doctors to see a patient’s entire genetic makeup. Finding a patient who is the only person in the world affected by a specific disease, or an n-of-1 patient, is surprisingly common. Gleeson estimates that 90% of all mutations identified are unique. As technology advances, the rare-research community is finding it easier to diagnose patients properly with information from databases, leading to an influx of newly discovered gene mutations and n-of-1 individuals. Gleeson and his team at UCSD have identified that out of the over 2 million known human mutations, there is a viable path for ASO or gene therapy treatment for half of them.
Dr. Gleeson also serves as the Chief Medical Officer of n-Lorem, aiming to address unique genetic mutations with ASO technology – the ultimate in personalized medicine. Excited and completely bought in, Dr. Gleeson is hopeful that n-Lorem will be able to successfully discover and develop personalized experimental ASO medicines for thousands of patients over the next decade – for free, for life.