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Genomic Medicine

The Importance Of Snps, The Future Of Medicine

A quote commonly heard these days is that in the history of medicine, the greatest advancements in the treatment of patients have occurred within the past 50 years. But what if a doctor could prevent a disease from occurring, treating the cause rather than the symptoms? We all agree this would be wonderful, but how could a doctor predict a patient's medical future? This dream is now within the realm of possibility. In fact, the greatest change in the history of medicine since the discovery of antibiotics is anticipated to occur over the next several generations. It is the movement of medicine from a discipline that reacts to and treats a disease to one that is focused on preventing disease from occurring.

This feat will be accomplished using genetic and genomic information gained from the Human Genome Project to tailor treatments and medicine to each individual patient. The individual's risk of getting a disease, or even infections, is almost always at least partly due to the combination of genes he or she was born with. Therefore, by using genetic information doctors will be able to predict, with different degrees of certainty, what diseases their patients are at risk of developing. They will then be able to use this information to reduce the chance of the disease from occurring in an individual, or prevent it entirely. This new approach of using genetics in the regular practice of medicine has been given the name "genomic medicine."

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaGenetics in Medicine - Part 2