What you have to know about personalized genetics

Genes load the gun. Lifestyle pulls the trigger.

By Dr. Elliot Joslin

I’ve written at least a hundred times about personalized medicine so it’s the perfect time to come up with a short description of what individualized medicine is about. In this new world of medicine, you get a treatment that is not only based on the epidemiological data of your population, but your own genetic background. But let’s start with a more appropriate definition:

Personalized medicine is use of information and data from a patient’s genotype, level of gene expression and/or other clinical information to stratify disease, select a medication, provide a therapy, or initiate a preventative measure that is particularly suited to that patient at the time of administration. Personalized medicine makes it possible to give: “the appropriate drug, at the appropriate dose, to the appropriate patient, at the appropriate time”. The benefits of this approach are in its accuracy, efficacy, safety and speed.

All right, here is an even shorter one.

…turning genetic variations associated with population-level risks of disease into medically advice useful for a single person sitting in an exam room.

We can also watch it on video:

Who are the key players?

23andMe: Single Nucleotide Polymorphism and genealogy analysis for 1000$. Check out my review or the demo account I created.


Knome: Whole-genome sequencing for 350,000$. Check out my review.


Navigenics: Will launch the service in days. My review is here.

Helix Health: A New York company founded by our gene sherpa, Steve Murphy, who answered my questions some months ago. Helix Health focuses on the family history of the patient and their genetic background as well. Genetic counselors discuss the disease-specific risks with the patients.


DecodeMe: It analyzes over one million variants in our genomes; calculates genetic risk for 23 diseases and finds our ancestors for $985.


Who and what do stand behind the whole concept?

Archon X PRIZE for Genomics: The $10 million X PRIZE for Genomics prize purse will be awarded to the first Team that can build a device and use it to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less, with an accuracy of no more than one error in every 100,000 bases sequenced, with sequences accurately covering at least 98% of the genome, and at a recurring cost of no more than $10,000 per genome.

The aim is the 1000$ genome.

Craig Venter’s genome that was published in September, 2007.


Who and what should you follow to know everything about personalized medicine?