Genomic medicine: genetic variation and its impact on the future of health care.
Advances in genome technology and other fruits of the Human Genome Project are playing a growing role in the delivery of health care. With the development of new technologies and opportunities for large-scale analysis of the genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome, the genome sciences are poised to have a profound impact on clinical medicine. Cancer prognostics will be among the first major test cases for a genomic medicine paradigm, given that all cancer is caused by genomic instability, and microarrays allow assessment of patients' entire expressed genomes. Analysis of breast cancer patients' expression patterns can already be highly correlated with recurrence risks. By integrating clinical data with gene expression profiles, imaging, metabolomic profiles and proteomic data, the prospect for developing truly individualized care becomes ever more real. Notwithstanding these promises, daunting challenges remain for genomic medicine. Success will require planning robust prospective trials, analysing health care economic and outcome data, assuaging insurance and privacy concerns, developing health delivery models that are commercially viable and scaling up to meet the needs of the whole population.
Willard, HF; Angrist, M; Ginsburg, GS
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