Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomic screening for improved public health

Date:
March 7, 2013
Source:
American College of Medical Genetics
Summary:
In 10 years' time, routine preventive health care for adults may include genetic testing. As genomic testing prepares to enter the realm of general medical care, an interdisciplinary team of researchers is suggesting that now is the time to explore genetic testing to identify people at high risk for carefully selected, preventable disease.

In ten years time, routine preventive health care for adults may include genetic testing alongside the now familiar tests for cholesterol levels, mammography and colonoscopy. As genomic testing prepares to enter the realm of general medical care, an interdisciplinary team of researchers is suggesting in a commentary in the May 2013 issue of Genetics in Medicine, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), that now is the time to explore genetic testing to identify people at high risk for carefully selected, preventable disease.

Related Articles


The technology is available, and the price is coming down so rapidly that it will soon be possible and practical to offer a carefully selected panel of genetic tests that could avert disastrous health consequences in people at high risk for serious life-threatening diseases, according to James P. Evans, MD, Ph.D, Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics & Medicine, at the University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill and Editor-in-Chief of Genetics in Medicine. The commentary authors, experts in both genetics and public health, believe it is time to start looking at genetic testing through the lens of disease prevention. There are enough genetic conditions that are both preventable and strongly predispose people to specific cancers or to a catastrophic vascular event that it is sensible to try to identify those people early so they can seek preventive care, the researchers argue.

"Added together, the number of people who are walking around, who unknown to them, have mutations that greatly predispose to serious but eminently preventable disease, comes out to roughly 1 percent of the population," says Evans.

For example, about 1 in 400 people in the United States carries an inherited genetic predisposition to develop colon cancer at an early age. Currently, people carrying this genetic risk would be unaware of it unless enough close family members develop colon cancer prompting doctor to suggest genetic testing or it is identified by analysis of their own or a family member's tumor. If, instead, at-risk people could be identified before cancer has occurred, a program of early, regular colonoscopy screening would help prevent the disease in the first place the researchers argue.

Using a preventive approach, the general public could be offered a panel of tests for this and other selected genes for which preventive care or early treatment is available, the researchers say. But discussion about which genes to include in such a panel will take time, as will the necessary research into the cost-effectiveness of such testing, as well as ethical, legal, and social implications. Now is the time to begin the discussion, they say, and to form a new partnership between geneticists and members of the public health community to help realize the full promise of public health genomics.

"Investigating the possible benefits of such screening, as well as the challenges and potential pitfalls that might exist, should involve a partnership between the genomics community and the public health community," said Evans. "There would be many important issues to sort out, including which genes should be screened and how individuals respond to screening."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Medical Genetics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James P. Evans, Jonathan S. Berg, Andrew F. Olshan, Terry Magnuson, Barbara K. Rimer. We screen newborns, don’t we?: realizing the promise of public health genomics. Genetics in Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/gim.2013.11

Cite This Page:

American College of Medical Genetics. "Genomic screening for improved public health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124552.htm>.
American College of Medical Genetics. (2013, March 7). Genomic screening for improved public health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124552.htm
American College of Medical Genetics. "Genomic screening for improved public health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124552.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins