We are each unique, yet we are limited by a majority approach to health care. While we share similarities in 99% of our genomic profile, only 1% makes us different. With all good intentions, medications are developed for the masses, joint replacements are created based on average needs, medical treatments are determined by overall outcomes, and clinical trials are randomized. This “treatment for the masses” exposes all of us to a myriad of unnecessary (and potentially costly) side effects.
Genetic information can be used to identify and better define the genes that influence disease. The ability to read a person’s specific gene set (genome) already exists. Unfortunately, what the health care community still lacks is the skill and knowledge to effectively use a person’s specific genomic information to improve patient care and disease prevention.
The Scripps Genomic Medicine (SGM) program and the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) are designed to change the status-quo and help shape the future of medicine as we know it.
Since cancer accounts for one in four deaths annually in the U.S. and cardiovascular disease is the nation’s leading killer, much of our research concentrates on improving care and finding cures for these particular devastating diseases.
In cancer, cardiovascular disease and other disorders, our goal is to define the genes in a person’s genome that may make him or her more susceptible than another individual to a given disease and influence his or her response to a specific drug therapy.
Among the 20,000 genes covering 3.1 billion coding letters in each of our genomes, we must first must narrow down the list of which genes and markers are worth looking at and why. Our hope is that our results will then translate into clinical research, drug discovery programs, and gene-specific individualized patient trials.