Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Genomes in Medicine

The once considered far fetched idea of using gene sequencing for personalised medical treatment in routine clinical care has recently become a realistic possibility. Contemporary scientific research in gene sequencing has uncovered the possibility to search the genomes of large numbers of individuals for statistical associations between genetic variation, single nucleotide polymorphisms and the occurrence of disease. Currently, the technology to sequence and interpret human DNA requires a lot of time and is at a high cost. However, it is seen as a plausible and scientifically possible way to understand, diagnose and treat various genetic diseases. There is has been a significant interest in this developing technology as it would allow for potential inherited diseases to be distinguished early on in a persons life. This information would allow for lifestyle adjustments and early detection or treatment of disease which would vastly increase curing probabilities.
The focus of such technology currently lies on its use to identify and help prevent chronic disorders including diabetes, heart disease, Crohn disease, following the discovery of such illnesses there is a potential for drug development and enhanced tests, diagnosis and prognosis. Although there seems to be numerous advantages to such technology there is also many obstacles that need to be overcome before it is a reality. Such obstacles include it’s the current high cost and possibility of genetic discrimination. Although the technology is not advanced enough for gene sequencing for personalized medical treatment it is evident that this is a promising technique that will be gratefully accepted into the medical industry in future years.
Celeste White
Feero, Gregory, Francis S. Collins, and Alan E. Guttmarch. "The Genome Gets Personal—Almost." JAMA 299 (2008). 16 Apr. 2008 .

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