Patients’ Genetic Profiles Plummet in Price as DNA Sequencing Technologies Advance
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Scientists now believe that nearly all diseases have at least some genetic component. The understanding of human genetics is hoped to lead to breakthroughs in therapies for many illnesses. Organizations worldwide are experimenting with personalized drugs that are designed to provide appropriate therapies based on a patient’s personal genetic makeup or their lack of specific genes.
DNA sequencing was first achieved in 2001 at a cost of about $100 million per genome (one patient’s entire genetic makeup). As of 2019, prices had fallen to between $200 and $1,500, depending upon the extent of the sequence provided. In addition, some companies offer testing of a small, select group of genes within a patient at very modest prices. The genome sequencing market is led by Illumina, Inc., a San Diego, California-based company. Competitors include PierianDX (which acquired Tute Genomics in late 2016), Thermo Fisher Scientific, Complete Genomics and BGI, formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute.
The scientific community’s improving knowledge of genes and the role they play in disease is leading to several different tracks for improved treatment results. One track is to profile a patient’s genetic makeup for a better understanding of a) which drugs a patient may respond to effectively, and b) whether certain defective genes reside in a patient and are causing a patient’s disease or illness. Yet another application of genetic profiling is to study how a patient is able to metabolize medication, which could help significantly when deciding upon proper dosage. Since today’s widely used drugs often produce desired results in only about 50% of patients who receive them, the use of specific medications based on a patient’s genetic profile could greatly boost treatment results while cutting costs.
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Publication Date: October 2020Price: $379.99
Printed ISBN: 978-1-62831-585-1
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