What if you knew that fifteen years from now you will suffer from diabetes so debilitating that it’ll deprive you of your eyesight? Or that the medicine you take on a regular basis is actually doing nothing for you but instead, will give you stroke later on-valuable insights that will change the very course of your life? Healthcare is no longer just diagnosis and treatment, today, it is all about preventing diseases before they occur. It is also about customizing drugs to individual body types, to maximize the efficacy of care. In fact, it is all about ‘precision’ and ‘prediction’-made possible by Genomics or the study of genes. Genomics makes it possible to identify diseases that we are likely to suffer from in future, by studying our genes and arriving at a blueprint of our bodies. This is particularly valuable in quickly identifying serious diseases that previously took years, putting an end to uncertainties and torturous diagnostic sagas.
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project (HGP) is perhaps the first major step in the study and implementation of genomics in human healthcare. HGP was a journey of discovery led by a global team of researchers who sought to sequence and map all of the human genes, collectively known as the genome. The $2.7 billion project, which began in 1990 and ended in 2003, gave mankind a thorough insight into the three billion pairs of DNA that make up the human genes. As a result of this study, we are now able to integrate genomics into mainstream medicine and map genes in just a few hours, to arrive at accurate results.
How it works
Many serious illnesses, including cancer, are the result of alterations in our genes. Genomics identifies these alterations and compares them to our gene sample to see if we are susceptible. If we are, then we are given the means to prevent it through appropriate lifestyle changes and if need be, medical intervention. Indeed, genomics has resulted in shifting healthcare’s approach from ‘cure’ to ‘prevention’.
Genomics is everywhere
Medicine has come to rely heavily on genomics, with practitioners across all fields successfully using genomics to help patients understand their bodies better. Dr Mukesh Batra, founder of Dr Batra’s Group of Companies, says homeopathy (the youngest of all medical sciences), has now incorporated genomics and genetically-guided tests to arrive at treatment options that are scientific, precise and uniquely planned for individuals of all age groups, including children.
“The genetic tests for Geno Homeopathy indicate the gravity of the illness and give an in-depth analysis of the condition,” Dr Batra says. “Since the genetics of each individual is unique, doctors study the detailed genetic report and provide you a personalized and customized homeopathic treatment. The Genetic Test also provides patients with a lifestyle chart that incorporates dietary and exercise programs to compliment the treatment plan.”
Dr Batra adds that the genetic test for Dr Batra’s Geno Homeopathy consists of a simple saliva test that can assess the severity of a medical problem even years before the disease appears. The results of this are made available to the patient in as quickly as 3-4 weeks.
It’s not just the genes
Genomics doesn’t just study the genes-it also studies how medication in the same dose affects different people differently. Our genes are responsible for the production of enzymes in the liver that metabolize the medicines that we take. Now, if there is a defect in our genetic makeup that prevents the proper secretion of enzymes when a drug is taken, then that drug can build up in our body and make it toxic. Medicines work only if they are broken down in the liver, so if the enzymes don’t work, the drugs don’t, either. Genomics helps study these gene variations and come up with alternative drugs with the same effect.
In short, genomics is not just about revolutionizing healthcare, it’s also about revolutionizing disease itself, with its comprehensive, leave-nothing-to-chance approach.