Looking to the Future of Personalized Medicine

Sequencing our own DNA and cross-referencing the results against the best of present scientific knowledge will soon be cheap and routine. This is an example of the sort of incremental progress in medical technology that is increasing human life expectancy year after year: a little more prevention here, a little better insight into how to cure there. From ScienceDaily: "For the first time, researchers have used a healthy person's complete genome sequence to predict his risk for dozens of diseases and how he will respond to several common medications. The risk analysis [also] incorporates more-traditional information such as a patient's age and gender and other clinical measurements. The resulting, easy-to-use, cumulative risk report will likely catapult the use of such data out of the lab and into the waiting room of average physicians within the next decade, say the scientists. ... The $1,000 genome is coming fast. The challenge lies in knowing what to do with all that information. We've focused on establishing priorities that will be most helpful when a patient and a physician are sitting together looking at the computer screen. ... Information like this will enable doctors to deliver personalized health care like never before. Patients at risk for certain diseases will be able to receive closer monitoring and more frequent testing, while those who are at lower risk will be spared unnecessary tests. This will have important economic benefits as well, because it improves the efficiency of medicine."

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429204658.htm

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