Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 27 of 51

26 Clinical OMICs March/April 2018 Helen Albert Contributing Editor Despite Data and Privacy Challenges, Decreasing Cost Ushers in the Age of Personalized Whole-Genome Sequencing Genomics gets Personal T he human genome project cost $3 billion and attracted high expectations about the impact its completion would have on human health both in treating disease and revolutionizing drug development. The greater affordability of and advances in sequencing technology made since the project was completed in 2003 (see "Human Genome at 15," page 40) has made it much more accessible. For example, the U.S.-initiated Personal Genome Project and the U.K.-based 100,000 Genomes Project, among others, are making use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to advance personalized medicine research. Today, bulding on the development of direct-to-consumer genotyping tests such as those provided by 23andMe and Color Genomics, it is now possible for individu- als to access WGS directly. Veritas Genetics, co-founded by Personal Genome Project founder and Harvard researcher George Church, Ph.D, will sequence your genome for $999, albeit in collaboration with your physician. Other companies such as U.S.- based Sure Genomics and Europe's Dante Labs also offer similar options to consumers. WGS on a wider scale clearly has the potential to help develop more effec- tive and wide ranging personalized medicine, there are concerns about how best to protect those who undergo sequencing from data misuse or genetic discrimination. There are also important ethical and regulatory issues that need to be considered. Power to the People Church set up the Harvard Personal Genome Project in 2005, which now has more than 5,000 participants. It is designed to be an open, shareable resource for research- ers. In 2012, the project was extended to Canada, and since then has opened additional centers in the U.K., Austria, South Korea, and China. Church is a strong proponent of personal genomics. "One of the key needs is to help families avoid the 5% of births with very serious genetic diseases," he told Clinical Omics. "Other compelling applications include avoiding inherited cancers by preven- "One of the key needs is to help families avoid the 5% of births with very serious genetic diseases." —George Church, Ph.D. Harvard Medical School

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