Genomic medicine: new ethical and social challenges

September 3, 2020 10:15 - 11:45

Location: Virtual Room 1


The likelihood that a person develops a particular disease and its individual clinical presentation is highly variable, and depends on multiple factors (age, sex, lifestyle, etc.). Precision medicine is a holistic approach for disease management that makes use of the high-resolution information that today we can measure, for example individual variations in genes, physiology, phenotypes, and environment. The basis of precision medicine is then linking this data from individuals with clinical data to improve diagnostic and treatment.
Genomic medicine is a subfield of precision medicine, and it refers to applying knowledge about a person’s genomic information to guide and improve their health. Genomic medicine is delivering new methods for more precise diagnosis and treatment, as in oncology and rare diseases. In the last years, few countries launched precision medicine programmes, such as the 100K Genomes Programme (UK) or “All of us” (US). According to data gathered by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, the percentage of human genomes sequenced by healthcare has ramped from 1% in 2012 to 20% in 2018, and it is expected to grow to 80% by 2022.   
The delivery of genomic medicine poses new ethical, societal and legal challenges. The workshop brings together leaders from research, health care, patient communities, and ethics. They will discuss with the workshop´s participants issues surrounding the translation of genomic into medicine and public health from different views. We would like to discuss: What cultural and technological changes do we need to implement genomic medicine? What is the role of fundamental research in this field? How can we foster new international and inter-disciplinary collaborations and trust among researchers, clinicians, patients, regulatory agencies, hospitals, biobanks and the private sector (including pharmaceutical companies, biotech and new businesses around direct to consumer genetic testing?"

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