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{bio,medical} informatics

Friday, August 25, 2000

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SiliconValley.Com Will genomics kill the insurance industry?
"Will genomics kill the insurance industry? It's a credible scenario. And even biotechnology executives are beginning to buy into it.

Last week, during an industry conference held here in Boston, senior executives from several of the world's leading genomics concerns agreed that genomics, with its promise of being able to show who will be predisposed to what disease, would eventually give rise to universal healthcare in the United States.

"This could happen especially if the defects in our genomes make us all uninsurable,'' said panelist Craig Venter, uber-geneticist of human genome renown."
redux [06.08.00]
Yahoo! News Researcher Calls for Laws to Protect Genetic Information
"As researchers race to complete mapping the human set of genes, one of the project's leaders sounded an alarm Tuesday about the practical implications of this knowledge, and called for legislation to protect individuals from misuse of genetic information. ``We cannot wait until we have finished sequencing the human genome to pass important legislation that protects a person from being discriminated against--by health insurance companies or by employers. We do not need hundreds to thousands of casualties before acting on this important issue,'' Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Project said here Tuesday."

redux [03.21.00]
BBC News Tests spark fears of genetic underclass
"The UK Government is considering allowing insurance companies to use genetic testing to assess a person's risk of inheriting a serious illness."

"One opponent of the wider use of genetic testing said it was part of a "terrifying trend" that would lead to a culture of "cherry picking"."

redux [06.08.00]
GeneLetter Managed care needs to prepare for biotech revolution
"Unless they begin preparing now, health plan executives and medical directors could be blindsided by the revolution in medicine that will come with the mapping of the human genome, members of a managed care conference keynote panel warned on Monday."

"You think the genetic revolution is still 3-to-5 years off for your health plans," said Dr. Billings, who also serves as deputy director and chief medical officer of the Heart of Texas Veterans Health Care System. "I have to tell you, you better wake up. The tsunami is on the horizon," he warned.

For example, Schering-Plough's Dr. Haverty predicted that gene-based information could lead to the identification of many different types of asthma. As a result, health plans will need to develop many new codes and to upgrade their information systems, he said."
redux [03.30.00]
JAMIA Integration and Beyond: Panel Discussion
"I think one of the toughest things we all have to deal with is updating our dictionaries. In the simplest cases, the name of an organism is changed and we just have to do the maintenance. It is tougher, when, as with Citrobacter, they do genetic studies and say, "Oh, it's really six different organisms, not one." We have the human genome project coming very quickly. Even that is just the tip of the iceberg. We're not only going to see all the genes; we're then going to see clinical tests based on gene expression. Essentially, you'll be able to look at something on the order of 180,000 gene products and whether they're up or down regulated. How are we going to integrate such an incredible amount of data at a time when we're going to also be changing how we think about these processes? Classification and simple mapping are not going to work, because the lumpers and splitters are going to be arguing furiously on a daily basis."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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