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Archive for October 1st, 2012

Points from the Experts

Posted on October 1st, 2012 by Admin

From the Individualizing Medicine conference in Minnesota ---

Dr. Jeff Trent, formerly of the National Institutes of Health, and founder of TGen, the genomic research outfit, cited an interesting statistic this morning. Ten years ago doctors were asked whether they felt comfortable talking to their patients about genetics. Only one in ten said that they were. Okay, jump ahead a decade - from the mapping of the human genome to today. The survey was repeated....and last year the comfort level was the same. Only one in ten physicians had a comfort level communicating genetics. All the more reason for this conference. The last four hours had an underlying theme: education. Or as my communications colleagues call it, awareness. Topics here are focusing on the feasibility of whole genome sequencing, the costs, benefits and practicality. What we are hearing is that it definitely has its role and is already changing treatment in some cases... as well as the field of preventive medicine. Dr. Marc Williams of the Geisinger Health System just called genomics "a vast sea of truth" quoting Issac Newton. And in many cases we are just beginning swimmers.

"Altered States" – Tracking Your Genome Over the Years

Posted on October 1st, 2012 by Admin

When Dr. Michael Snyder of Stanford suggested doing an in-depth study of individuals' genomes he began with himself... and discovered he was at risk for diabetes...and some months later, discovered he had diabetes. It was an odd situation of prediction and then diagnosis -- and because he quickly adjusted his diet and exercise, the information also helped direct treatment.

Dr. Snyder is working on more than than the genome, but also proteomic, metabolic and other regulatory readings that fill in more of the information of what's going on in your body. His goal is to combine all of this information, along with family histories to get the most comprehensive sense of what's happening in an individual. It's important that each person have one or several benchmark measurements and then follow up with genomic tests throughout the lifespan. What's important, says Dr. Snyder, is to find how the genome and the body is being altered as time goes by. He predicts one day a monitor, not unlike a glucose monitor, may collect upwards of 5,000 "things" about a person -- an "omit-wide" test -- that would be available at a pharmacy perhaps. It would be able to help determine risk, aid prevention, or catch a disease or condition early on. He also noted that currently a person can get a genome sequenced for about $35oo. Yet that is not a clinical sequence...that would cost perhaps $5,000. But that is simply the data. Analysis - so you have a good sense of what it all means, costs $15 to $20 thousand based on the approach at Stanford. Costs will come down, year by year.

If you are interested in following our Twitter conversation, check out #MayoCIM

Beginning the Conversation – Individualizing Medicine

Posted on October 1st, 2012 by Admin

More than 500 people are sitting around me watching the opening videos showing profiles of three composite patients, the examples that will be used as recurring touch points in this Individualizing Medicine conference. Now Dr. Michael Snyder of Stanford has taken the stage to talk about Omics...and Health -- the genome and everything we are exposed to in our life and environment. We have reporters in the room...and many more are watching online. The media is important in conveying and explaining the concepts in this conference...concepts that will be influencing medical care in weeks and months to come. Note that I didn't say years. In fact, genomics has been an integral part of many care specialties at Mayo for several years. The lowering costs of sequencing genomes is making it possible. We are already including genomic information into patients' medical records.