Ideally, precision medicine will lead to improved diagnosing and customized treatment based on personal genetics, and include a feedback loop to monitor effectiveness. UCSF already has a number of related initiatives on board.
I see personal genomics more generally evolving rapidly to become a major part of everyday life for Americans and around the globe. At the same time, potential problems associated with it will continue to emerge in parallel and merit serious evaluation.
In my first piece on personal genomics, I wrote about how data on one's genome can provide information on one's disease risk. Such personal genomics studies estimate the probability of someone getting a disease.
The USPSTF has moved on from ambivalence about prostate cancer screening with the PSA test, and inveighed decisively against it -- a recommendation that is apt to stoke the flames of competing passions, and generate a whole lot of heat but altogether too little light.
What are the implications for society if a serious mental illness can be avoided by deliberately excluding some people from certain sorts of situations? Should our screening mechanisms become so heavy-handed, if the technology allows it?
On the one hand, genomic science promises us an unprecedented look at the material sources of our lives, and on the other hand, this science may tempt some to think that we are nothing more than our genetic makeup.
Unfortunately, there is a tendency towards a paternalistic attitude by certain groups in the medical professions who seek to limit access to medical information that is not directly under their control.