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Personalized Medicine: Our Human Genome

Our genome is the “code of our bodies.” Every cell in our system contains a complete set of DNA that contains “recipes” which influence every aspect of an individual. These genes work together to create each piece of who we are, this includes everything from eye color, hair color and hand size to which diseases a person will get or is susceptible to. The first gene sequences were completed in the late 70’s and since then genome sequencing has been revolutionized. Recently, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been able to curate a person’s entire genome sequence for personalized treatment. This personalization of medicine gathers ones genetic information and family’s genetic history to better diagnose and treat diseases.

Personalized medicine can help diagnose many different types of cancers, some forms of Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS and many other diseases. This range to cure seems to be limitless. Over the past 20 years the price of genome sequencing has gone down from a few million dollars to a few thousand dollars, making it much more accessible to patients. The increase of genomic data and understanding of how genes contribute to diseases improve clinical decisions and patient care. With more research, genome sequencing can also contribute to other area of science and innovation.

The Brigham Research Institute (BRI) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will host a symposium on “The Future of Genetics in Healthcare: From Sequencing to Treatment” highlighting science from our community in areas such as DNA sequencing, precision medicine, global phenotyping and more. Speakers include Calum Macrae M.D PhD, Robert Green M.D MPH, Tamarra James-Todd PhD and Raju Kucherlapati PhD. Join us this Thursday, April 23 to learn more from experts in one of the leading healthcare fields and hear about how the science of today will impact patient care in the future.

Register for the event here.


Piece by Alessandra Maahs Co-op Intern at the Brigham Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with a focus in Biology and Communications.

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