Jack Uldrich
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Personalized Medicine’s Accelerating Future

Posted in Health Care


This past week I gave a presentation on “The Future of Genomics” to the Minnesota Hospital Association. In the course of my speech, I listed a variety of reasons why society is accelerating toward a future of more personalized medicine, including advances in DNA microarray technology; the growing wealth of genetic knowledge being facilitated by such tools as the “Wikipedia” for Genes and the new ”SNPedia;” private money (in the form of the Archon X Prize); the growing number of start-up companies who are making it more possible for people to have either a portion or their entire genome sequenced by companies such as 23andMe, DeCode, Navigenics and Knome); and the recent passage of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).

Alas, none of these things speak to the possibility like real results. To that end, I’d like to highlight just two articles I came across this morning. The first is from the Wall Street Journal and the article discusses how an old heart drug, bucindolol, has been found to reduce death for people who have a certain genetic mutuation by up to 38%. The second article, ”Chemotherapy Get Personal,” reviews the findings of a recent study in the journal Genes and Development which explains how advanced computer algorithms are analyzing the activity of 20,000 genes to better match specific chemotherapy drugs with individual cancer patients.

The advances, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the underlying technologies enabling these startling advances are growing exponentially and they portend a promising era of personalized medicine. In order to reach the full promise of this era, however, it is imperative that both citizens and health care officials alike begin preparing today for the wealth of genetic data that will soon be flowing their way.

Interested in related articles on genomics by Jack Uldrich? Check out these past posts:

The Future is About to Get Personal

You’ll Look and Feel Good in Genes

A Trillion Reasons to Care about Genomics

The Coming Health Care Revolution

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