Genomics And The New Medicine
Genomics is the science that investigates the genes of an organism. It involves the DNA sequencing, which upon completion is called a genome. Its first research was launched in 1970s with simple organisms as their subject. In the middle part of the 80s, the scientists pursued the DNA sequencing of humans, called the Human Genome Project. Its completion in 2003 has since created applications for the advancement of technology for the betterment of the resulting researches, and thereby, creates solutions and products to have better health and living conditions.
The United States' Department of Energy, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, funded the said project to help the medical scientists have better understanding of the genetic contributions to human health. The resources, information and technologies that resulted from the Human Genome Project caused the incorporation of genomics into the field of medicine. The genetic mapping or sequencing influences the way a disease is diagnosed, forecasted, monitored, and treated per individual.
Each disease has a genetic component, regardless if it is hereditary or acquired as the body's reaction to environmental stresses such as toxins and viruses. The ultimate goal of genomics and pharmacology is to take advantage of the human genome to develop new methods to cure, treat and prevent the onslaught of diseases which have plagued mankind throughout history.
Nevertheless, the medical scientists involved in such study admitted that it is difficult to develop accurate and more efficient medicines based on the genetic makeup of individuals or small sub-groups of individuals. Further, they are constantly confronted with issues along the way. Meanwhile, there are institutions which use technology to design diagnostic tests that can detect defective genes in individuals, determine their risks to particular diseases, and identify the severity of such disease.
Despite the ongoing debate and continuous challenges underlying the fields of genomics and pharmacology, the genetic diagnostic testing has become commercially available in the United States, and some parts in Europe and East Asia, and is often oblivious about its ethical and social implications. Although certain diagnostics are accurate and effective in enhancing and saving human lives, scientists are uncertain on how to interpret many of this information.
In addition, the individuals who have taken such diagnostic gene testing have exposed themselves to various risks in employment and in their insurance status. And since the information on genetic makeup is publicly available, the risks are extended even to their family members. This is despite the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act which was enacted on May 2008.
Moving forward, the resources and technology that were promoted by the Human Genome Project begin to manifest positive impact on bio-medical research. Among its many objectives include revolutionizing the wider spectrum of clinical medicine and biological researches, enhancing the diagnosis of illnesses, being able to detect earlier the genetic predispositions of an individual to certain diseases, designing rational drug, developing genetic therapy and control systems for particular drugs, customizing drugs according to the genetic makeup of an individual.
With Genomics, there have been commercial efforts that deviates from diagnostics to development of a new era of therapeutics based on genes. The drugs could target particular areas in the human body to have the best results with fewer adverse reactions.
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