By Jeremy Janeczko
Imagine walking into the doctors to be informed you have cancer, but you leave without breaking a sweat. That’s a pretty unrealistic reaction after finding out you are dying. This reaction my not be unbelievable for too much longer. Recently there has been advancements made in human genome
sequencing technologies which may lead to cures for currently incurable aliments . Companies such as Ion Torrent, Helicos, GNU Bio, ABI and Illumina are the leading companies in this area of research and technology that are hopefully heading towards that goal.
Previously, sequencing began with the Human Genome Project in 1990 and took until 2003 to finish its first process, which cost $3 billion. In recent years, there have been major improvements. Justin Lamb, Senior Scientist of Technology at Harvard University comments: “companies exist today that will sequence your entire genome for a few tens of thousands of dollars”. Soon, spending that much to get your genome sequenced will be a way of the past. The company based out of Harvard University, GNUbio, has developed a better version of this technology, that they claim can sequence a genome in 12 hours at the price of $30. You may be asking yourself what does this mean – the answer is simple. Knowing your genetic structure will outline possible health risks you may face in the future. Justin Lamb claims “Individual genetic information might reveal a predisposition to a particular disease, allowing preventative measures”.
Preventive measures are the off-shoot this technology, and one form that could lead to much wanted cures to terminal diseases. This is known as personalized medicine. “Personalized medicine holds promise of selecting the best dose of the most efficacious drug for each individual” Justin Lamb stated. The most important advantage of making this technology more costly will be the move from private use to public use: Justin lamb announced “the NHS will most certainly use sequencing technologies for molecular diagnostics, and probably for some personalized medicine”.
Can really see the end of cancer and HIV in the near future? it looks promising.