The above statement is now accepted by nearly all physicians and scientists despite the fact that exactly how, and when, this revolution will occur remains far from clear. Unfortunately, the long anticipated "genomic revolution" has yet to have a significant impact on the daily practice of clinical medicine. The amount of existing data on the human genome far exceeds the capacity of practicing physicians to prioritize, validate and incorporate the available information into medical practice.
The need for genomic medicine is clear. The practice of medicine in 2007 remains focused on the analysis of average individuals. For example, the average person should exercise often, maintain their ideal body weight, avoid stress and eat regular meals. The average person should not smoke, eat high fat meals or get an excessive amount of sun exposure. But how do each of us compare to the average person in terms of both our behavioral and molecular genetic characteristics?
Thus, despite its vast potential, genomic medicine remains a “future likelihood” rather than a rapidly evolving reality, like DNA sequence analysis. Few physicians are capable of providing interpretation of genomic data to patients. The clinical relevance of research articles that have not been prepared systematically can be difficult to assess. Moreover, no current mechanism exists to obtain a consensus interpretation of the clinical relevance of genomic data using a standardized format. It is clear that the small number of healthcare professionals trained in genomics are being overwhelmed by the large number and complexity of interpretation of new data emerging from genomics research.
The Physician Genome Partnership was founded on the belief that human genomics will only be able to revolutionize health care when physicians can interpret genomic data and incorporate it into their clinical practice. The Partnership has therefore been established to evaluate all available data in an attempt to provide systematic assessments of the potential clinical implications of the data. A secondary goal is to highlight additional data that would further increase the value of the genomic data. The ultimate goal is to translate the advances being made in the laboratory to the improvement of health management in the 21st century.
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