WHAT OTHER TECHNOLOGIES WILL BE PREVALENT IN THE PERSONALIZED MEDICINE SPACE?
The information gathered from genomics will ultimately be coupled with other technologies to further guide and treat human health. For example, it is now possible to construct pluripotent stem cells from any individual. These are cells that can be grown indefinitely, but can also (with certain treatments) be transformed into many cell types. These cells can be used to (1) test predictions of drug sensitivity, side effects, and efficacy, and (2) determine the potential for analysis of disease-related defects using cell-based assays. For example, if individuals are predicted to have potential cardiomyopathies, their differentiated cardiomyocytes can be examined under various stresses to search for defects. Furthermore, known drugs can be tested on personal cell types to see if they can ameliorate the defects. All of this can be performed in a petri dish to determine if a potential defect exists, prior to the onset of the disease.
In the area of reproduction we now have the potential to produce human children through in vitro fertilization and to manipulate the genomes of such embryos by introducing genetic alterations. Although many safety issues still remain with these various technologies, it will be important to guide these technologies for the betterment of human health, while ensuring adherence to ethical guidelines.