It’s a question as old as time itself.
If you could look into a crystal ball and see how you might die in the future, would you look?
It mightn’t be via a mystical fortune-telling sphere, but a whole-genome sequencing service has arrived in Australia that’ll let you know how prone you are to developing life-threatening conditions, including 31 types of cancers.
Launched today by Sydney‘s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Genome.One is now offering the $6,400 service that offers folks the ability to predict how they’d likely react to more than 220 meds, in turn allowing doctors to better tailor treatment.
It’s pretty big news as it marks the beginning of a new era of precision medicine. Analysing an individual’s genetic predisposition to disease, while taking into account their lifestyle, will revolutionise the way we treat illness.
“Today’s launch is a major milestone towards transforming our health system into one based on truly individualised information … and one that focuses on prevention rather than treating disease,” Dr Marcel Dinger, CEO of Genome.One, said.“Genetic information provides an entirely new dimension to understand your health, but its value is best realised in the context of other health data.“Personal and family medical history and lifestyle are key components for consideration in this service,” he said.
But how does genome sequencing work, exactly? How do they translate this DNA data into meaningful health predictions for individual people?
It’s a two-pronged approach.
The lab will take blood samples, which provide the raw material needed to sequence a patient’s genome.
Patients will also undergo a physical examination, a pathology test and a review of their lifestyle risks, like smoking, diet and alcohol consumption.
The whole way through, genetic counsellors guide patients, explain how the testing works and interpret the final results, to keep them at ease.
Once the testing is done, Genome.One can refer patients for further testing or treatment at St Vincent’s outpatient clinics in Sydney and Melbourne.
“It’s not about giving people good news or bad news. It’s about explaining ‘you have a variation in your genes that causes an increased risk or say, heart disease or cancer or another treatable condition’,” Genome.One genetic counsellor Mary-Anne Young said.“Some people are taken aback at first. But the counterbalance is that it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to develop the condition.“It means they have a higher risk than the average person and they can take steps to reducing their risk,” she said.
While the exxy service is probably only gonna be used by super health-conscious millionaires at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before these sorts of futuristic health services are more widely available to the rest of us.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Photo: The Simpsons.