The state of modern medicine is astonishing. What we know, what we can treat, and what we can prevent has given countless millions help and hope. But even with what we do know the field of medicine is still in many ways very much a guessing game. Sometimes people suffer from ailments that just don’t conform to what we know, and treatments are pretty much a matter of trial and error. This is because as much as humans are essentially all the same there are minuscule differences that can translate into big problems.
Our individual genetics, although shared with our siblings and parents, extended relatives, and the rest of the human race, are actually unique. We each have within our genetic code unique mutations that make us who we are, but from time to time these mutations cause problems that conventional wisdom and treatments can’t fix. So what if you could receive medicine or treatments that have been tailored specifically for you?
That is exactly what medicine is becoming, and it will revolutionize our world the way penicillin, x-rays, and anesthesia did, and undoubtedly even moreso. Although still a long way off from being commonplace or the perfect “cure-all”, the sequencing of an individual’s genome has already proven successful in treating patients.
I envision a future where a person has their genetics mapped out early on in life so potential problems can either be resolved completely, or a course of management can be planned. Imagine a world where genetic predispositions to heart disease or cancer can be screened for and prevented, or to a lesser extent, baldness and colorblindness. What personal genomic sequencing really promises is a whole new understanding of how life works and what goes wrong with it. As more and more people have their genes sequenced a bigger picture of humanity will come into focus. It is impossible to even guess what knowledge and insight will be gained, but it will certainly lead to a better world.