June 9, 2019 0 By FM

The age of genomic medicine is upon us and we are rapidly moving into the era of precision medicine. Young clinicians should spend time to understand this technology and learn to interpret the results.

Catching this technology at an early age will also help them significantly contribute to the society by helping patients who suffer from rare and yet undiagnosed diseases.

Addressing the medical needs of such patients is one of the key responsibilities of the advanced medical world of today. But, unfortunately, this hasn’t yet got due attention from the young and emerging clinicians here, unlike in the West.

In the western world, the need for addressing rare and undiagnosed diseases, which are mostly connected with genetic causes, has got serious attention from the clinician community, especially the young who are keen to devote time for research. This is not only satisfying intellectually, but also translates into financial gains if a new therapy is discovered.

Genetics and genomic studies have a lot more to do in order to address rare and undiagnosed diseases. But, sadly the current medical curriculum in India is not geared to prepare students to understand or apply genomics in healthcare.

In the UK, they are carrying out genomic studies in 100,000 people at present, while in the US it is an extensive study in about 1 million people, to understand the interplay of genetics and the environment to cause diseases.

Understanding this would lead to the development of novel and precise preventive, therapeutic and curative approaches. Moving a step ahead, the UK has already announced that genomics will henceforth be a part and parcel of national health services.

The younger generation in this profession, if equipped with new and emerging technologies, can contribute to the critical needs of patients who have genetic as well as currently incurable diseases.

Precision medicine — the concept of tailoring the medicine to the genetic as well as environmental attributes of the patient —is the future. Be prepared for it and apply it in your practice today.


­— As told to CH Unnikrishnan


Advisor & Senior Consultant, Institute of Medical Genetics, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi