The human genome includes all the information needed to sustain the most complex creatures the world has ever seen. While the entire genome has been mapped out in the broadest sense, the intricacies of this vast biological structure are still being unraveled.
Entrepreneurs like Jim Plante are helping to put the discoveries that are being made to use in ways that improve the lives of individual people. Companies like Pathway Genomics are making genetic testing and its benefits far more accessible than ever before.
Using Genetic Information to Provide Better Healthcare
Although there is only one strictly human genome, this abstract structure manifests itself in practice in billions of different ways. Each person’s genetic makeup differs at least slightly from those of all others, even in the case of twins who were previously thought to be genetically identical.
While understanding the human genome in its outlines has opened up many important and valuable new options, it is by zooming in on the genetic information of individuals that the most significant progress can be made. Being able to more easily and accurately describe the genetic makeup of particular patients can allow for improvements with regard to health-impacting activities like:
- Diagnosis. Many common diseases are most likely to crop up in those who carry a genetic predisposition toward them. From cancer and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and diabetes, being aware of such an inclination can make future problems less likely. Genetic testing can also make it easier to recognize the symptoms of a disease whose rareness might normally make it less likely to come to mind. Being able to apply genetic testing to medical diagnosis is an especially powerful tool.
- Medication. Every person’s body reacts differently to pharmacologically active treatments, and that often proves important. Fortunately, drugs can often be altered to better suit the physiological details of particular patients. Using genetic testing to identify how best to formulate a medication can make an enormous difference.
Making Progress on an Especially Important Front
With advances in other areas also being possible thanks to genetic testing, any progress that can be made should be welcome. Companies that focus on making genetic testing more accurate and widely available are contributing directly to the health of many people.