Where are we now and where are we headed
Where are we? Where are we headed?
OUR PRESENT IS INCREDIBLY WONDERFUL, we have learnt to read our life book;
By that, I mean that we have succeeded in decoding our DNA. This is an incredible step forward because if we are able to obtain the information that our DNA contains and elucidate how that information is expressed, it will bring us the possibility to fight and continue our research until we make a disease-free planet.
We have discovered that our DNA is a fundamental reservoir that contains all the necessary instructions for the construction, repair and maintenance of our body. We only use a large part of this information part of the time, depending on the current needs of our body.
We have discovered that DNA is not a rigid structure but totally the opposite. Our life book is a dynamic reservoir of high plasticity and flexibility that is in constant interaction with everything that surrounds us and that adjusts to the changing needs of every moment through the silencing or expression of specific genes by changing their structure, but without changing their contents or linear message. This symbiosis between environmental factors and our DNA is what we call “epigenetics”.
Where are we headed? ¿What does the future hold for us?
A future free of diseases and free of the suffering caused by diseases.
How will we achieve that?
The answer is easy!
If, on the one hand, we know that it is possible to study the genome of each individual and discover how it is expressed in such individual;
and, on the other hand, we know how to rewrite the book to correct the errors in it or simply take them into account in order to avoid their manifestation, we will be able to move from palliative medicine to preventive medicine.
Thanks to this information, we will be able to develop new medical therapies and customized nutritional and drug therapies, which will allow us to avoid the disease in each of us.
Let me give you an example. Let’s talk about lung cancer.
We know that, in order to develop that cancer, genes are responsible for 10% of the probability, and that the remaining 90% depends on the individual’s style of life and, most importantly, whether or not he or she smokes. That 90% is related to epigenetic
As you can see, the value of this information is enormous for the individual in question and for the whole of society.
It is valuable for the individual because this information can serve as an indicator to change or improve aspects of his or her life so that he or she may enjoy a longer and healthier life. And, it is valuable for society because of the large savings that it will entail, may it be in less expenditures allocated to health care systems or lower premiums for private insurance companies.
Don’t forget that the part of the nation’s budget allocated to health care amount to billions of Euros!
How will we achieve this?
Through cell and tissue engineering + hyperconnectivity + globalization + biotechnology engineering + bioengineering + bioinformatics + massive sequencing projects + information technology + comparative genomics + gene expression analysis + genomic medicine + genomics + synthetic biology + new developments that occur in all fields of research.
Every advance in any sector opens the door, which allows the entry of new complementary technological surges that eventually will help us guide the future of humanity as a planetary civilization.
New technologies have eliminated geographical barriers allowing millions of people to work together without leaving their setting, in multidisciplinary and specific projects, thereby contributing each of them their “grain of sand”, ie putting their availability, intelligence and individual capacity to the collective service of the entire world.
We are fortunate because we have been born and live in a time of constant change and every change brings new illusions, opportunities and challenges. Our era is magnificent. Our view of the world changes day by day, hour by hour. New population challenges and discoveries are surfacing through biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, renewable energy technologies, and a long endless list…
The key to understanding this future is to understand the fundamental laws that govern nature and then apply them to new therapies, inventions and machines.
If we apply these concepts to the world of human genetics, we see that we are in full development of what has been called the “OMIC” age, a Latin word meaning “totally of some sort”. If we apply this suffix” omics” to the various fields in which biology is currently working such as genomics, proteomics or metabolomics, we see new concepts appear. Apart from these, I am sure you are beginning to hear these “odd” words more than once:
|Kwy Word/words for the search|
|Omics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Pharmacogenomics / Pharmacogenetics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Genomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Structural genomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Functional genomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Genomic medicine||see results in Wikipedia|
|Nutrigenomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Proteomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Metabolomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Metagenomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Microbiome||see results in Wikipedia|
|Connectomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Epigenomics||see results in Wikipedia|
|Phylogenomics||see results in Wikipedia|
All these new fields of study are aimed at improving the different areas of our health, taking into consideration the genome of each individual. Please, remember that all these different specialties are aimed at a very near future of customized medicine.
The language being used now is the language of DNA, emerging as the new star in the next 10 years.
Please realize that we are at the doorstep of a revolution in medicine worldwide, as we will go from massive and curative medicine to personalized and preventive medicine.
With this information, we can develop new medical therapies covering personalized pharmacological and nutritional therapies, responding accurately to the specific profile of each individual.
At present, 3D printing technology allows manufacturing human tissues from the cells of a given individual. Moreover, in the not too distant future, this technology may evolve to produce replacement organs for sick people. By using the person’s own cells, thereby avoiding the problems of rejection that can occur when using donor organs or cells.
Hence, a new door opens before us: regenerative medicine.
English: 2 min 53 sec.
Here you will find several links that will bring you more information.
Next topic: Human Genome Project
Reviewed: 27th of January 2015