Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Genomic Revolution

In this video which was part of TEDMED 2010 Gregory Lucier, Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies anticipates the coming of the genomic revolution within the next two years and the possible constraint on its arrival.

He envisions a day coming soon when cancer patients will receive prescriptions for custom combination of drugs based on what physicians learn by use of the genomes of the patient and of the tumor. In his opinion, the technology will be "there" and the likely constraint on the arrival of the revolution will be FDA approval requirements which he says need to be modified.

I am thinking now of the prospect of applying comparative effectiveness research to the use of genomics in medicine. Assuming the "revolution" happens within two to five years, there will be huge implications for clinical pathways. I don't pretend to know how this will work out. Will genomics possibly drive population-based preventive care? Will there be cures for cancer? Will many kinds of cancer become manageable chronic conditions and no longer life-threatening? How might organizations that derive large revenues from traditional cancer treatments adopt to dramatic changes in the treatment of people with cancer? What are the implications of genomic medicine on the costs of care for individuals and for populations? We all wish for cures for cancer and other serious diseases and conditions. The powers that be will assess the potentials of genomics and will shape the revolution and its results from interests defined by existing paradigms.

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