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Progress In The Field Of Personalized Medicine And What We Can Expect Next

The third edition of The Case for Personalized Medicine (PDF) was released a week ago and I had a chance to do an interview with Edward Abrahams, Ph.D. of the Personalized Medicine Coalition.  The new edition is a primer that highlights the progress in the field of personalized medicine for policymakers, researchers, and business leaders.

  • How many prominent examples of personalized medicine might we have next year?

It’s impossible for us to know how many prominent examples of personalized medicine products will be available a year from now, but we project that the rapid acceleration in the number of new products coming onto the market will continue. When we published the first edition of The Case for Personalized Medicine in 2006 – there were only 13 available products; when we published the second edition in 2009, there were 37 products available, and now, in 2011, there are 72.

  • Sometimes lecturers use two numbers: 7 billion and 3 billion referring to the mass sequencing of everyone’s DNA in the world. When could it happen, what is your estimation? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Do We Have Enough Information About The Whole Genome Sequence To Improve Medical Care?

cake with double helix decoration - text: One base pair at a time

The popular proverbial saying “you cannot have your cake and eat it too” implies that one cannot consume something and preserve it at the same time–in other words, we cannot have it both ways.  Well, for once, maybe we can have our cake–our whole genome sequence (WGS)–and eat it too. I believe having our WGS and consuming it in small bite sizes over a lifetime may be the only way to integrate it into medicine and public health.

Rapid advances in genomic sequencing technologies are making the possibility of reliable and affordable whole genome sequencing (WGS) a reality in the next few years. We all carry about 6 billion base pairs of DNA in each of our cells, with 5-10 million inherited variants that are different among us. This genetic variation along with environmental influences provides a blueprint for health throughout the life span, and is related to virtually every disease of public health significance. There is definite interest among the public and scientists about the personal utility of this information.  In a recent survey by Nature, attitudes towards genome sequencing were explored among a sample dominated by scientists and professionals from medicine and public health. Although only 18.2% of respondents had had their genome sequenced or analyzed, 2/3 of those who had not reported they would take the opportunity should it arise. Curiosity was reported as the main single factor influencing respondents.

Can this information be useful today in improving medical care and preventing disease?   Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Genomics and Health Impact Blog*

Doctor Weighs In On Most Iconic Scientific Image Debate

There is a very interesting thread on Quora. Users want to find the most iconic scientific image ever. It might sound like an easy job but it’s truly not. My vote is for the Watson-Crick DNA double helix photo. What is yours?

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Researchers Identify Faulty Gene Associated With Ovarian Cancer Development

British researchers identified a faulty gene associated with a one-in-11 chance of developing ovarian cancer, and they think drugs for breast cancer might also work in these women.

Ovarian carcinoma, from ACP's book Practical GynecologyResearchers from England’s Institute of Cancer Research reported that they compared DNA from women from 911 families with ovarian and breast cancer and to a control group of 1,060 people from the general population.

They found eight gene faults in theRAD51Dgene in women with cancer, compared with one in the control group. TheRAD51Dgene repairs damaged DNA, and when it’s faulty, cells are more likely to turn cancerous.

Results appear Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

A Card Game Based On Your DNA?

If your DNA determines who you are, and defines both your strengths and limitations, then you could say we all live our lives with a pre-dealt deck of cards.

That’s the premise of a new card game on display as part of the Talk to Me exhibit which opened at MOMA this week.

Players send in swabs of saliva; the designers send it out to be analyzed and then generate a customized 50-card deck from each player’s specific DNA…The deck allows players to become shadow versions of themselves, with all their genetic cards on the table, and in the game, as in reality, life depends on how the cards are played, not on which cards are dealt. The effects of any trait depend Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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