Wednesday, June 16, 2010

article on genomics

There was an article in the NYT the other day about progress and lack thereof in medicine in the past 10 years since the human genome was decoded.
The initial attraction of genomics was the assumption that knowing all the genes would lead to the discovery of thousands of new targets. And to some extent that has happened.

But compared to the past, when targets tended to be discovered by academic scientists already studying a disease and its genetic context, the genome project provided companies with thousands of potential new targets all at once. Targets discovered this way, without years of academic research behind them, can require companies to spend years to understand the targets’ role in disease.
The article goes on to qualify this pessimism—correctly I think—with the fact that (a) it can take up to 15 years for a new drug to clear clinical trials, and (b) most scientists agree that we're at the mere beginning of a revolution in medicine, the fruit of which will not all be borne at once.

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