In the future we can envision a world in which many people have their genome sequenced, likely before birth, and epigenomes and a wealth of other information will be commonly used to predict, diagnose, and treat disease (Figure 1). Perhaps most importantly, however, this  information  will be used to keep people healthy. By tracking activities, diet, and molecular information, an integrative information system will manage each person’s health.

Figure 1. A possible future for personalized medicine. People will have their genome sequences determined before birth. Other detailed measurements will be performed as home tests. Sensors will be used to either continuously or periodically measure our activity and physiology and all of this information will be used to help guide our health care. iPS cells image attribution: “Induction of iPS cells” by Y tambe—Y_tambe’s file. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

What do these developments mean for the future of medicine? Certainly medical students in training today and physicians in the future need to ensure they are well-educated in genomics and bioinformatics so that they can optimally apply the information generated to patient care. Current medical treatment guidelines based on limited information will be seen as hopelessly antiquated. In the future, treatment algorithms for specific diseases may become  entirely  computer-based,  as  comprehensive  information  about the specific patient and her or his disease (including genomic information) is fed into the system and a customized treatment plan is  developed. Although much information will still be managed through a physician, the patient will have much more control. Overall, the information-poor manner in which medicine is practiced today will be replaced with an information-rich system that will be more accurate and more predictive. As patients, we will have more control of our medical destiny and that of our children, and this responsibility will be shifted from the physician to ourselves.

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About Genomic Medicine UK

Genomic Medicine UK is the home of comprehensive genomic testing in London. Our consultant medical doctors work tirelessly to provide the highest standards of medical laboratory testing for personalised medical treatments, genomic risk assessments for common diseases and genomic risk assessment for cancers at an affordable cost for everybody. We use state-of-the-art modern technologies of next-generation sequencing and DNA chip microarray to provide all of our patients and partner doctors with a reliable, evidence-based, thorough and valuable medical service.