Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A treatment for your body alone

Mayo Clinic VP Gianrico Farrugia, MD, keynoted the Individual Medicine Conference this month.

He highlighted five ways knowledge of the human genome will impact patient care--potentially that means you.

He calls these "value adds" to medicine.

First, pharmacogenomics--prescribing based on a person's genetic info--is helping avoid harmful medication reactions. Mayo embedded genetic info in its patient's health records--they say avoiding 3500 drug reactions.

Genetics and the  micobiome (makeup of the stuff in your gut) can tell doctors if you are at greater risk for some diseases as well as how well you will recover from them. This knowledge can also treat disease.

Whole exome sequencing---sequencing the core elements of the genome--can offer a diagnosis after years of questions, inconclusives and ineffective treatments.

Technology to sequence cell-free DNA in body fluids to diagnose cancer is rapidly advancing--this means not cutting into the cancer itself for a biopsy.

And, last, new vistas have opened in using non-invasive DNA testing to find genetic alterations during pregnancy.

Farrugia calls all this "precision medicine"--and more precision is usually a huge plus. It will make the old ways look pretty clunky, I suspect.

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