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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

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find related articles. powered by google. GenomeWeb SNP Applications Seen Saving Healthcare Industry $1 Billion by 2010
" The ability to identify and assess SNPs will help to increase treatment efficacy and reduce adverse drug reactions, helping to save the healthcare industry more than $1 billion over the next decade, a survey released Monday by Front Line Strategic Management Consulting said."

"The Foster City, Calif.-based consultancy said that treatment efficacy could increase by 32 percent over current levels while adverse drug reactions could be reduced by up to 25 percent."
redux [11.16.00]
find related articles. powered by google. The New England Journal Of Medicine: Correspondence Will Genetics Revolutionize Medicine?
"Neither we nor our critics defined a revolution in medicine. We mean a paradigm shift in theory or practice. Sotos and Rienhoff's plea for "precise diagnosis" epitomizes the current paradigm. In most of those who will have common disorders, the interaction of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors makes the quest for precise diagnosis illusive. "

"The revolution in medicine will come with the recognition, based in part on genetic research, that the quest for single causes for common diseases will seldom be fruitful and that a new paradigm of a causal web must be adopted. Interventions must be directed at the most vulnerable points in the web. Sometimes this will involve biomedical interventions. At other times, it will involve modifying aspects of our social structure, lifestyle, or environment that increase the risk of disease."
find related articles. powered by google. The New England Journal Of Medicine Will Genetics Revolutionize Medicine?
"On both sides of the Atlantic, revolutionary claims have been made about the ultimate impact of genetics on clinical medicine. John Bell at Oxford has asserted that "within the next decade genetic testing will be used widely for predictive testing in healthy people and for diagnosis and management of patients.... The excitement in the field has shifted to the elucidation of the genetic basis of the common diseases." (1) And in the United States the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, Francis Collins, has stated that the good that would come from mapping the human genetic terrain "would include a new understanding of genetic contributions to human disease and the development of rational strategies for minimizing or preventing disease phenotypes altogether." (2)

Statements like these clothe medicine in a genetic mantle. The result of efforts to identify genes that have a role in common diseases suggests a different picture: the genetic mantle may prove to be like the emperor's new clothes. In this article we argue that the new genetics will not revolutionize the way in which common diseases are identified or prevented. Mapping and sequencing the human genome will lead to the identification of more genes causing mendelian disorders and to the development of diagnostic and predictive tests for them. The development of safe and effective treatments, however, will usually lag behind, (3) although occasionally a treatment does precede the discovery of the disease-causing allele, as was the case for hemochromatosis. (4) Furthermore, only a small proportion of the population has mendelian disorders, and this will limit the ultimate impact of the Human Genome Project.

Our doubts stem from the incomplete penetrance of genotypes for common diseases, the limited ability to tailor treatment to genotypes, and the low magnitude of risks conferred by various genotypes for the population at large. Consequently, most people will have little interest in learning their genotypes."

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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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