On July 15, 2007, in Genetics

Taking government out of the business of regulation may take us back to the era of snake oil and delight the diagnostic test industry, which is working to prevent government regulation of its burgeoning product line. Some genetic diagnostic tests are going direct to possibly desperate consumers with zero credible assurance of their worth. On […]

Regenerative Medicine – Genetics

On March 20, 2007, in Genetics Regenerative Medicine

New understanding of the genetics of immune system cells could lead to better-targeted therapies for some major diseases, including diabetes, lupus (note advances in lupus treatments covered elsewhere in this issue), and rheumatoid arthritis. New genetic understandings also open up new avenues of potential cancer therapies. For example, the discovery that genetically damaging an already […]

Genetic Tests

On January 20, 2007, in Genetics

2006 was the year when the use of biomarkers and genetic testing to indicate the presence of disease or disease predisposition, based on the sort of research results described above, began to take off. Genetic testing and biomarker identification was a $5 billion business in 2006 and growing by 25 percent annually. Insurers did not […]

Genetic Therapy

On January 20, 2007, in Genetics

The HapMap helped reveal an environmental as well as an inheritable component to genetics. That, plus our new understanding of the complex interplay between the genomics of a disease and the unique minor genetic differences among individuals, has led to custom-tailored therapies based on the individual patient’s unique genetic situation. 2006 was the year when […]


On November 20, 2006, in Genetics

We said here years ago that RNA interference (RNAi, the ability to control whether and how genes express themselves) was the best thing since sliced bread. Someone at Nobel must have been thinking the same thing, since the two researchers credited with RNAi’s discovery have been awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Medicine. It is […]


On July 21, 2006, in Genetics

Genetic tests may have problems in the consumer market, but they sure have promise in the clinical setting. Strengthening the promise are: A new genetic test technology that eliminates the need for PCR (polymerase chain reaction)processing, which could further stimulate the rapidly growing genetic testing market. A substantial venture capital investment suggests that the technology […]


On January 21, 2006, in Genetics Genomics

As one major genetics project ends, another pops up. The HapMap Project has been just about completed, with some positive results for medicine. The significance of the new project — the Cancer Genome Atlas (CGA) — is not just that it is likely to be the final offensive in the war on cancer, but also […]

Genetics & Genomics

On November 6, 2005, in Genetics Genomics

The cost of sequencing an entire human genome was US$800 million in 2003, $20 million in early 2005, $1-2 million today, and may soon reach $20,000. (In the July issue we reported that a $5,000 whole genome sequence could be possible in 2007.) However, the full benefits of sequencing an entire genome will not be […]


On September 12, 2003, in Genetics

A gene variant has been found that accounts for the difficulty some smokers have in quitting; and genetic tinkering has given rats prodigious memories. Gene for Smoking The discovery of a variant of the gene that encodes an enzyme which assists the metabolization of nicotine and therefore makes it especially hard for some smokers to […]


On August 2, 2003, in Genetics

If anyone questions the practical value of the Human Genome Project, consider these developments from just the past few weeks: A DNA test for race has been used in a homicide investigation, Future Brits will receive customized care, now that their DNA is being stored at birth in a a national databank, A genetic contributor […]