Friday night I got a chance to hear, live, a lecture by Dr. Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project. He's got quite a lot to say.
For example, he spent a while discussing what kind of medical advances are coming out of the Human Genome Project. He said that the medical results from the Human Genome project are really starting to accelerate and should be seen in three waves that will allow really serious improvements to the treatment of many major diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart-disease, alzheimer's disease, etc.).
- Diagnostic / Preventive - the results of genome analysis will allow medical services providers to provide really individualized diagnosis / preventative steps based not just on the general public but based on what risk factors you are specificly open to). This should start arriving in the next 2 years.
- Genomic Pharmaceutical - the results of genome analysis will allow the choice of medicine and the dosage to be fine-tuned to you personally. In the past, it was hard to tell which medicines would work best with which individuals, but the ability to determine this is going advance swiftly as a result of genome-based research. This should also start arriving in the next 2 years.
- Better Pharmaceuticals - this takes longer because of the approval process, but really significant advances (specifically for cancer, but also other diseases) are being made because of the increased understanding of what happens biochemically inside the body. These are still about a decade away.
If true, this has practical implications for all of us as either we ourselves or someone we love is likely to benefit from the results of this research in the not too distant future.
He had quite a few things to say on other very important topics that are, in my opinion, of even greater practical importance to ourselves and the ones we love. Click here if you'd like to watch a video or listen to an MP3 of a lecture that I believe covers the same ground as the one I heard Friday.
Leave me a comment on what you think about what he has to say.