Precision Medicine Challenges Researchers
Will scientists be able to use the differences between us to heal mental and physical illness — and help one person through another?
Someday, but the challenges are immense.
Why does one person get an infectious disease like Covid-19 while another is immune? Scientists are wondering too. It may turn out — humans and animals alike — need each other more than we imagined.
For instance, patients are being treated with antibodies from recovered Covid-19 patients — an example of how one person may be able to heal another.
Humans are an estimated 99.9 percent alike — but those small differences yield enormous consequences when it comes to mental and physical health.
One person’s curse is another’s blessing when it comes to genes and immunity. Genes sometimes ail one person — while that same gene may be a gift within another.
Amazing advances in science and medicine are occurring. Precision medicine is on the horizon — an enormous step towards a disease-free world.
According to Overlapping versions of our genetic history complicate precision medicine, a scholarly article in Science Daily by a team at McMaster University, “Overlapping versions of our genetic history complicate precision medicine.”
The promise of personalized medicine has not fully materialized, say the researchers, because the full sophistication of the genetic blueprint has a more complex and far-reaching influence on human health than scientists had first realized.”
Scientists first began mapping the human genome in 1990 — and completed the project in 2003.
Each human carries a unique genetic combination, so curing a disease is not as easy as just identifying and modifying a gene.
For instance, the McMaster team explains, researchers identified a gene that puts women at risk for breast cancer. It seemed that protection from the disease might be as simple as deactivating that gene.
It’s far more complicated than that because genes and the genetic code are extremely complex.
Individual genes are necessarily good or bad —it’s the genetic combinations that matter.
“Any disease we see is a result of the interactions between necessary and unnecessary complexity,” researcher Bhagwati Gupta said.
“Individual genes do not determine sickness or health on their own, the authors say, but act in concert with groups of other genes- all in various stages of mutation — in ways that are just beginning to be understood.”
Human genetic codes are extremely complicated and contain many redundancies, the team concludes.
How can we make it simple?