Friday, October 8, 2010

Human Genome Mapping A Failure In Finding Cures For Disease

Article Of The Week:

Human Genome Mapping A Failure In Finding Cures For Disease, Read Here

Doctor's Soapbox:
10 years ago, Bill Clinton announced that the complete human genome had been mapped. This was a huge day in science because the thought was that once we map the human genome, we can discover what genes cause what diseases and treat them accordingly by pharmaceutical methods. One quote by Francis Collins at the National Institutes of Health said, "you will see a complete transformation in therapeutic medicine."

10 years later, where are we? No better off. Medicine still has no answer for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity. The genomes are mapped, we know which genes and gene variants are linked to which diseases, yet disease rates are increasing across the board, not decreasing. Where is the pie in the sky? It's fallen on the faces of the medical establishment. You see, there are genetic factors that play a role in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. But far and away, the more important factor when determining disease risk and prognosis is environment/lifestyle. This was proven yet again in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. After studying 19,000 women with heart disease and finding 101 different gene variants that contribute to heart disease, they found that the fact that the women had a gene that was linked to heart disease had zero predictive benefit over 12 years as to whether or not the women developed heart disease.

So what determined whether they developed heart disease? Their lifestyle. How they chose to eat, move, and think on a daily basis.

Harold Varmus, the president at the National Cancer Institute summed it up in one great line, "Genomics is a way to do science, not medicine."