Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Personalized medicine’

Navigenics: What my genome tells me to do

A few months ago, Navigenics.com offered me to analyze my saliva sample and genome. I happily accepted the offer and was curious to see what they could tell me. After graduating from medical school, I will start PhD training in personalized genetics this September so I’m quite into this emerging field of medicine.

navigenics-main-page2

I sent my saliva sample back to their laboratory this January and received the results in about 3-4 weeks.

navigenics-view-my-results1

I clicked on View my results and saw what kind of risks I have for certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, heart disease, prostate cancer, Crohn’s disease or osteoarthritis (9 conditions all together).

When I check one medical condition, I see something like that:

navigenics-results1

They tell me my risk compared to the whole population.

navigenics-risk

And how that medical condition is affected by environmental and genetic factors.

navigenics-all-risk

And if I’m interested in the particular single nucleotide polymorphism they analyzed, I can check the details.

navigenics-ratio

Pros:

  • The information this service provided me with was useful and I will change some things in my lifestyle.
  • I can talk with a genetic counselor to discuss the results of my genetic variations.
  • I can print the results and share it with my doctor through an understandable report that mentions the references on which they based my risk percentages.
  • They help me what I can do in order to lower my risks for specific conditions. They also let me know things that prevent multiple conditions on the Navigenics panels.
  • Each condition is covered in details (causes, symptoms, treatments, etc.). This information is powered by Mayo Clinic.
  • I can find support groups or more information on prevention.

Cons:

  • Let’s say 3 SNPs tell me I have elevated risk for heart disease. But next year, they will discover 4 new ones that defend me from this condition. So Navigenics, just like any other similar companies, can only tell me risk percentages that might change a lot in the future.
  • For example, if based on my genomic results, I have elevated risk for heart disease, what I can do to lower this risk? Exercises, healthy lifestyle, etc. Things you can tell me without analyzing my genome. Though it’s not the fault of the service, but of the state genetics is in at the moment.
  • It’s still way too expensive compared to what I get for my money as the results cannot really be used for medical decisions  (I got a free package so I know I shouldn’t say that).
  • Well, a few genetic tests can be useful when making medical decisions, but such tests should be ordered only by medical professionals. Or if not, at least genetic counseling should be for free as patients need serious guidance when reading the results of their genomic variations. (Update: Navigenics provides free genetic counseling for all Health Compass members and 1 hour of free counseling for all Insight members. And you can order the tests through a medical professional or on your own.)
  • I think I can handle many things but it was almost impossible for me to understand which documents I have to send back to the lab with my saliva sample. A step-by-step video tutorial would be useful.

I’m thankful to the Team of Navigenics.com for showing me how their service works in action. I’m impressed and looking forward to seeing how they can make their service even better.

PeRSSonalized Medicine: A free tool to track medical information

We’ve recently had a long discussion on Twitter about why many doctors are not open to these web 2.0 tools. There is no question, they don’t have enough time to use these even if they were designed to help them save time and effort.

That’s why we’ve been working hard on Webicina.com to come up with a free tool that helps those users who cannot spend much time online (e.g. medical professionals). PeRSSonalized Medicine helps them track medical journals, blogs, news and web 2.0 services really easily and creates one personalized place where they can follow international medical content without having a clue what RSS is about.

Webicina.Com

Being up-to-date is crucial for medical professionals, but it takes time and effort. Sitting in a library with a few medical papers is not a proper solution any more. Learning to use an RSS reader is not that easy for those who don’t spend much time online.

PeRSSonalized Medicine is a free tool that lets you select your favourite resources and read the latest news and articles in one personalized place. You can create your own “medical journal” and as we are totally open to suggestions, let us add the journals, blogs and websites that you would like to follow.

perssonalized-medicine

Click on “Personalize It” to hide the resources you don’t want to follow.

You don’t have to register to use it, but if you want to make sure it will save your settings, you can register in a few seconds here.

Now you can follow:

  • Medical journals
  • Medical blogs
  • Medical news
  • Medical Media including Youtube channels, Friendfeed rooms or Del.icio.us tags

One more thing. The developer behind PeRSSonalized Medicine and the whole Webicina platform is Gergő Vargyai. Many thanks to him for his ownderful job!

As always, we are open to suggestions so please let us know which resources to add to the database.

Further reading:

MicroRNA and personalized medicine?

Barbara Duck from The Medical Quack blog shared a link with me yesterday and I was surprised to see how strong the connection is between personalized medicine and the world of microRNAs. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are single-stranded RNA molecules of about 21–23 nucleotides in length, which regulate gene expression; according to Wikipedia.

The link took me to the website of Rosetta Genomics, a company that was founded in Israel in 2000. From the FAQ:

Rosetta Genomics mission is to develop a novel class of diagnostics and therapeutics based on a recently discovered family of genes called microRNAs.

Rosetta Genomics is developing diagnostic and therapeutic products based on micro-ribonucleic acid, commonly known as microRNA, primarily for cancer and women’s health indications.

rosetta-genomics

They provide 3 diagnostic tests:

  • miRview Squamous: differentiates squamous from non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer
  • miRview  mets: dentifies the tissue-of-origin of metastatic tumors.
  • miRview  meso: differentiates malignant pleural mesothelioma from peripheral adenocarcinomas of the lung or metastatic carcinomas involving the lung pleura.

It will be interesting to see how they move forward with this concept.

And in case you need a miRNA search engine, here is Intragenic miRNA browser:

mirna-search

Gene Genie #41: Carnivalome

Gene Genie is the blog carnival of clinical genetics and personalized medicine. I’ve received more than 25 submissions for this edition which is dedicated to the human genome and videos in clinical genetics.

gene_genie_logo_400.jpg

Many thanks to Ricardo Vidal for the logo!

The molecular level:

Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future wrote about Genetics of gene expression in African-Americans: ominous news for personal genomics?

Alex Palazzo at The Daily Transcript analyzed 100 years of genetic research.

Greg Laden‘s submission was The Scientific, Political, Social, and Pedagogical Context for the claim that “Race does not exist.”

Larry Moran at Sandwalk talked about Genes and Straw Men

The clinical level:

Chavonne Jones at Human Genetics Disorders shared Muscular Dystrophy Gene Therapy Video:

The Daily Scan informed us about Breaking Cancer’s Gene Code.

Walter Jessen at Highlight Health focused on Potential Location of Autism Genes Identified and Gene Expression Can Predict the Survival of Lymphoma Patients.

The PHG Foundation posted about Helping physicians understand genetic risk and Epilepsy Phenome / Genome Project.

Grace Ibay at Genetics and Health published two interesting articles: Gene therapy research presents hope for sickle cell anemia and The genetic disorder that kept her from dancing.

Chavonne Jones at Human Genetics Disorders also shared a Wilson’s disease video with us:

The personalized genetic level:

The Navigenics Blog said Leading genomic researcher discusses his own test results.

Hsien-Hsien Lei at Eye on DNA unveiled Singapore Company DNA Dynasty Will (Not) Tell Your Children’s Future.

Do you know costs are plummeting for human genome sequencing?

The PredictER Blog focused on genetic privacy.

Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future featured advice for doctors on dealing with personal genomics customers.

Read more about The Spitterati and Trickle-Down Genomics at the site of Center for Genetics and Society.

Blaine Bettinger at The Genetic Genealogist analyzed Familybuilder that announces DNA Testing.

Now: The rest of the genome (Herald Tribune).

Lygeia Ricciardi at Project HealthDesign asked “Would knowing your genes change how you act?

And don’t miss the Book of Me.

Genetic Testing for Heart Disease:

The President level:

The Genetic Privacy of Presidential Candidates (New England Journal of Medicine):

Using genetic information to disparage opponents has no place in presidential campaigns. Nonetheless, the threat of genetic McCarthyism provides us with an opportunity to engage in a public dialogue about the limitations and complexities of using genomic information for decisions about life and health — including voting for our president.

Gene Screen: Will We Vote Against a Candidate’s DNA? (Wall Street Journal):

“DNA is not an issue in this campaign, but in the next campaign it will be bigger,” says George Annas, a leading authority on bioethics and human rights at Boston University. “It’s coming.”

If you want to host an issue of Gene Genie in 2009, let me know (berci.mesko [at] gmail.com). Don’t forget to submit your articles (berci.mesko [at] gmail.com).

And also check the Gene Genie blog out!

Personalized Medicine: Health and Information Technology

It’s getting harder and harder to keep you (and myself) up-to-date about the newest improvements and announcements of personalized medicine. I’m going to present my slideshow to a broader audience on Friday on this topic (The world of Personalized Medicine), and I’m going to publish it on my blog as well. Now, let’s start with the most important and interesting document of the month:

Personalized Health Care: Opportunities, Pathways, Resources (PDF; 867 KB) made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is a must-read! I’m going to dedicate a whole post to this report soon.

David P. Hamilton presents Vance Vanier in his post, Perspective: Personalizing Medicine in the Age of Health 2.0. After reading this fascinating article, I had to realize how important web 2.0’s role in constructing the basics of personalized healthcare is. Information technology and health will work even more closely together in the near future. I’ve recently got an e-mail with this question: So what is the difference between health 2.0 and medicine 2.0?

Actually nothing. Maybe medicine 2.0 is about medical education and the communication among physicians, while health 2.0 is focusing on patients and healthcare. What do you think? Scott would definitely have some points.

‘Personalized Medicine’ Comes to Mt. Sinai as The New York Sun says,

The hospital plans to offer a $20 incentive to any patient who donates an eight-ounce vial of blood to a new Biobank, a warehouse of DNA and plasma that is a central component of the hospital’s Institute for Personalized Medicine. “Personalized medicine,” an approach that incorporates molecular analysis into managing a patient’s health, has been touted as the future of medicine ever since scientists completed the map of the human genome in 2003.

The American Association for Cancer Research has an outstanding story of an oncologist who used gene chip data to give personalized therapy to his patients:

Like many oncologists, Eric P. Lester, M.D., was faced with a dilemma: seven patients with advanced, incurable cancer, an arsenal of drugs that may or may not help them, and not enough solid proof about treatment efficacy to guide him. So Dr. Lester devised what he called a “simple-minded experiment” that illustrates the promise of personalized medicine. Using DNA microarray “chips,” Dr. Lester analyzed his patients’ tumors for expression of genes associated with good response to various anti-cancer drugs, and based his drug treatment plans on the results. Four out of seven patients with advanced cancer enrolled in the extremely limited study had a better outcome than expected.

Genetic test for prostate cancer (BBC Health): (I’d love to hear Steve‘s opinion)

The Progensa test, developed by Gen-Probe, measures the activity of a gene closely linked to prostate cancer – PCA3. It is elevated only in cancerous prostate tissue, making it a more specific indicator of cancer than PSA. About 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and 10,000 die from the disease.

And at last, Researchers Urge Caution As Personal Genomics Stand Poised To Go Mainstream:

Imagine this: you visit your clinician, undergo genetic testing, and then you are handed a miniature hard drive containing your personal genome sequence, which is subsequently uploaded onto publicly accessible databases. This may sound like science fiction, but it is scientific fact, and it is already happening.

Where?? I have to move there…

Related links:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40,970 other followers

%d bloggers like this: