On 26th June 2000, President Bill Clinton, was quoted as saying, “Genome science will revolutionise the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases”. Many thought, at the time, that he was exaggerating to make a point.
In one of our most recent Disrupted Health post we stated that in healthcare, decision making isn’t a science problem but an information one. We referred to a wealth of healthcare data growing exponentially. One of these data set to grow even faster, in the coming years, will be genome sequencing data which Bill Clinton was evangelising some 15 years ago!
Google, masters of data search and analytics, understood this new phenomenon a while ago and have established a new business they have straightforwardly named Google Genomics. Last week they announced a genome sequence data storage service for $25 per year. This will enable each one of us, not our doctor, to store our own genomic data in the cloud so that we and the medical professionals we consult can easily access this valuable information.
First a little bit of context! Sequencing, or mapping our genome and its many subsets, will enable each of us to effectively have a Google Map of our own body. Each one of us has a unique genomic map which is like the software code that determines the health of our body. Once this information is known for each individual, you can start to imagine how customised or personalised medicine could and will become – see iDisrupted pages 115 and 116
The disruption of medicine driven by genome sequencing has already begun and will continue to build considerable momentum in the next few years as the following catalysts come into play:
- The price point for a person to have their genome sequenced will continue to reduce at a trajectory consistent with Moore’s law, from many millions of dollars a few years ago to hundreds of dollars per person – see iDisrupted pages 52 and 53.
- More of us will therefore be able to have our genome sequenced. More to the point, as we become more aware of the benefits, we will want this to happen. The tools to leverage this data will be as simple to use as accessing a smartphone app.
- Medical science makes greater use of this data to treat our diseases in a manner customised to each one of us. For example:
- Our doctors understand and have the tools to use this information to make much better and more informed diagnoses – see our IBM Watson blog; http://www.disruptionuk.wpengine.com/news/disrupted-health-ibm-watson-makes-disease-diagnosis-elementry/
- Drug firms are able to design and test drugs customised to our health profile and specific disease.
We believe that is one of the most exciting and revolutionary disruptions in medicine. In our next post, we will consider the top ten disruptive technologies in healthcare between now and 2025 which includes genomics.