J Genet Med.  2008 Dec;5(2):89-93.

Challenge of Personalized Medicine in the Genomic Era

Affiliations
  • 1Professor Emeritus, Ajou Univ. Medical School Director, Center for Genetic Disease, Ajou University Hospital, Korea. genetics@kornet.net

Abstract

"Personalized medicine," the goal of which is to provide better clinical care by applying patient's own genomic information to their health care is a global challenge for the 21st century "genomic era." This is especially true in Korea, where provisions for clinical genetic services are inadequate for the existing demand, let alone future demands. Genomics-based knowledge and tools make it possible to approach each patient as a unique biological individual, which has led to a paradigm-shift in medical practice, giving it more of a predictive focus as compared with current treatment oriented approach. With recent advancements in genomics, many genetic tests, such as susceptibility genetic tests, have been developed for both rare single gene diseases and more common multifactorial diseases. Indeed, genetic tests for presymtomatic individuals and genetic tests for drug response have become widely available, and personalized medicine will face the challenge of assisting patients who use such tests to make appropriate and wise use of genetic risk assessment. A major challenge of genomic medicine lies in understanding and communicating disease risk in order to facilitate and support patients and their families in making informed decisions. Establishment of a health care system with provisions for genetic counseling as an integral part of health care service, in addition to genomic literacy of health care providers, is vital to meet this growing challenge. Realization of the promise of personalized medicine in the era of genomics for improvement of health care is dependent on further development of next generation sequencing technology and affordable sequencing test costs. Also necessary will be policy development concerning the ethical, legal and social issues of genomic medicine and an educated and ready medical community with clinical practice guidelines for genetic counseling and genetic testing.

Keyword

Personalized medicine; Personal genomics; Clinical genetics service; Genetic risk assessment; E.L.S.I.; Genetic testing; Genetic counseling
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