Diseases are the result of underlying system interactions NOT simply physical underpinnings. Watch the following talk from Northeastern University Professor Albert-László Barabási to learn how mapping cellular protein reactions can help us discover how diseases work.
Posts Tagged ‘genomics’
Want to win a cool $10 Million? Why not take part in the The Archon Genomics X PRIZE competition? Last time we discussed the X PRIZE competitors were challenged to create a medical device akin to the famous Star Trek® Tricorder (see Turning a Stat Trek Vision Into Reality). This time around, things are much simpler. All you have to do is be the first team to design and build a rapid and inexpensive technology that can accurately sequence the whole human genome. Why is this important? Check it out:
For years, scientists and medical professionals have been searching for the holy grail that is personalized medicine. Here, at the American Biotechnologist, we too have been enamored by the concept and have written many articles in its support, (see for example Genomes, Phenomes and Personalized Medicine and Andrew Hessel is a Seer…Personalized Medicine is Very Near). Yet, although many personalized medicine crusaders have gone to war, few battles have been won.
In an unfortunate turn of events, a recent publication out of Harvard University has found that a person’s genetic profile is a very poor predictor of disease and of little use in clinical practice. The study looked at genetic variations associated with breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and found that knowledge of these variations only resulted in a 1-3% increase in risk prediction sensitivity. Hardly anything to get excited about.
Does this mean the end to personalized medicine? Of course not! However, it does mean that readers should be skeptical when hearing stories about the great predictive powers of genomic information and need to make sure to keep their scientific glasses on in order to avoid getting swept up by the excitement.
For more information see Knowing genetic makeup may not significantly improve disease risk prediction.
Aschard, H., Chen, J., Cornelis, M., Chibnik, L., Karlson, E., & Kraft, P. (2012). Inclusion of Gene-Gene and Gene-Environment Interactions Unlikely to Dramatically Improve Risk Prediction for Complex Diseases The American Journal of Human Genetics DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.04.017
A lesson from the past with predictions for the future. This talk was given in 2003. How accurate were his predictions 9 years later?