Friday, January 8, 2010

Genomics and Personalized Medicine

The topics of genomics and personalized medicine are very hot topics these days. Let's start by seeing how Wikipedia defines these terms:

Genomics is the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes intensive efforts to determine the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping efforts. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such as heterosis, epistasis, pleiotropy and other interactions between loci and alleles within the genome. In contrast, the investigation of the roles and functions of single genes is a primary focus of molecular biology or genetics and is a common topic of modern medical and biological research. Research of single genes does not fall into the definition of genomics unless the aim of this genetic, pathway, and functional information analysis is to elucidate its effect on, place in, and response to the entire genome's networks.
Personalized Medicine
The United States Congress defines personalized medicine as "the application of genomic and molecular data to better target the delivery of health care, facilitate the discovery and clinical testing of new products, and help determine a person's predisposition to a particular disease or condition."
The application of personalized medicine is being studied heavily in the area of oncology. Tailored therapies are being developed for patients who have specific genetic mutations. Targeted biologic agents are being used to treat diseases at the molecular level. The definition of the term "bioengineering" or "biological engineering" will continue to evolve as we see tremendous advances in medical technology.

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