Genomic medicine

10 Nov 2017

Recent decades have seen massive advancements in genomic medicine. This has resulted in establishing a wealth of disease associations with genetic variances in the genome. At the same time, the extensive use of genome analysis tools has resulted in a massive decrease in the cost of genome sequencing. Today, genetic testing companies are offering full genome sequencing for below USD 1000.

The growing availability and utility of genetic information is becoming an increasingly important aspect of modern personalised medicine, due to the ability to deliver patient-tailored health care based on an individual’s genetic makeup. The emerging field of epigenetics, studying dynamically evolving changes in gene expression in response to environmental stresses, has added an additional layer of complexity to our understanding of the genome. As with genomic studies, current epigenetic research is rapidly evolving into potential clinical applications.

The latest advances in genetic science will improve disease diagnosis and aid in guiding and applying personalised treatment and prevention plans. These advances include liquid biopsy, which identifies cancer cells or DNA in bodily fluids, requiring minimally invasive extraction; and the development of CRISPR technology, which allows precise and efficient gene editing in any organism.

These new tools and techniques, combined with the growing availability of genomic information and new predictive methodologies, are entering clinical practice. They will challenge how we as insurers define disease; how we structure and price our policies; and how we sustainably provide our products and services to our customers.

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