Full sequencing of human genome became one of the most impressive scientific breakthroughs of recent times. It creates innumerable possibilities for medicine.
Knowing an individual's genomic portrait can help a physician correct his/her diet and lifestyle, give other useful recommendations to maintain general health. Many hereditary diseases can be prevented or alleviated through prophylactic measures.
The question of genetic passports has been in discussion in Russia lately, with possible genetic testing of people and further use of information for medical procedures. There are companies that already provide the service in Western countries, but it’s still not very popular in Russia. There is also a limited number of medical facilities equipped to conduct genetic sequencing.
One of these facilities is the Genome Center of Kazan University. Therefore genetic passports for the patients of the University Clinic are the reality of the nearest future.
Research is currently being conducted in this area, and one of the running projects is called “Exome of Tatars” and aims to collect genetic information about Tatars and other ethnic groups of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Professor Albert Rizvanov explains, «It's important to find out what are the genetic peculiarities of the local populace. We hope that cheap sequencing becomes available soon, and the relevant information will be stored in a database. An individual’s genetic code will be stored in his personal medical record. This genetic passport can help increase the effectiveness of treatment and prevention.
For example, we all know that foods contain certain fats and allergens. We can avoid harm from particular substances if we know about genetic predispositions to certain pathologies. Optimal personal diets will become possible thanks to that. Genetic passports can also significantly decrease side effect from medication therapy by searching the database for specific medication-genome interaction patterns
As you might know, Asian ethnic groups have their peculiar variations of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase – these variations make them susceptible to fast inebriation and subsequent heavy hangover. Similarly, medication effects can also be very different. So, the concept of our IT Clinic includes the use of genetic information for the best possible therapy».
The introduction of genetic passports will be preceded by simpler one-gene tests. These tests are held to find out if a patient has contraindications to a particular medication.
Currently the cost of one full human genome sequencing is between 1,000 and 5,000 USD. This is relatively high. But experts say that the technology might become as cheap as 10 to 20 thousand RUB per test. The previous progress is quite impressive – the very first sequencing took 15 years and 3 billion USD, nowadays it’s about 5,000 USD and one day. So further optimization is to be expected.