Thursday, February 12, 2015

A bit worse before it gets better

Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease

A new mental frame was created some weeks ago when President Obama gave a speach on the creation of the initiative on Precision Medicine. To be honest, the term was in the title of a 2011 report by IOM.
In my opinion, it is a bundle: stratified medicine+big data+regulatory science+... This is the bundle of the new buzzword, and unless new details arise, nothing specially new.
Now the New Yorker speaks abouts the problems of precision medicine, and focuses on the risks. The final paragraph illustrates the issue:
For Solomon, genetics is simply a new tool with a learning curve, the same as any other. “When the electrocardiogram was first developed, about a hundred years ago, most physicians thought it was voodoo,” Solomon said. “Now, if you don’t understand it, then you shouldn’t be practicing medicine.” But Mary Norton sees that analogy as too simplistic. The pace of genetics research, the variability of test methods and results, and the aura of infallibility with which the tests are marketed, she told me, make this advance a more complicated one than the EKG. Norton believes that, as genetics becomes increasingly integrated into medical care, “over time everyone will come to have a better understanding of genetics.” But, as the demand for DNA testing increases, she says, “it will probably be a bit worse before it gets better.”
Could we avoid the initial bit worse of  "imprecision of stratified medicine"? . I'm full convinced that appropriate regulatory efforts could mitigate such impact. Unfortunately, governments are on vacation.

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