genetic testing

The practice of medicine is meant to keep people well or help them get well so they can live a full, productive life. Technology provides tools toward that goal. It can help relieve pain and suffering or prevent it. But too often we get so excited about technology we lose sight of what’s really important, helping human beings live better. And when it comes to the millions of people living with chronic conditions, and now “chronic cancers”, we need to really understand their lives with an illness to know how technology can help.
“How much is my life worth?” Patricia Garcia-Prieto, professor of Organisational Behaviour at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and a mother of six and 11-year olds has asked this question multiple times. In her video , as a patient representative on a panel, she has been vocal about this thought that passed her mind every day. Patricia suffered from melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. Four of the five years, she was a stage IV melanoma patient. There are around 84,000 new cases of melanoma each year in Europe, out of which 20,000 patients do not survive it. It is an eye-opening statistics but one that has driven medtech to innovate. Genetic testing, specifically personalised medicine, has made targeted treatments a new reality. In cases where melanoma has metastasized or cannot be removed surgically (unresectable), a companion diagnostic genetic test can identify individuals with a particular type of melanoma that may respond to therapy with the new drug . Similar to an activist, Patricia Garcia-Prieto was on a quest for learning more about her disease and doing everything she can to stay alive. She looked up treatments, access to trials and vaccine studies. She dug up novel solutions current medicine could offer for her state. She was rejected many times, however, she fought on and finally got admitted to a trial study in another country. It was a road of never-ending meetings with oncologists, dermatologists, surgeons, radiologists and physiotherapists across multiple hospitals. And finally, after years of struggle she gained access to personalised therapy. “ I am alive thanks to personalised treatment - and my experience convinces me that the patient perspective has to be more closely integrated into the discussion of personalised medicine. The radical changes to healthcare that personalised medicine promises will happen only if patient...
Genes
In June, the US Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Myriad case (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc.). The Supreme Court had been asked a seemingly simple question: “Are human genes patentable?”, and concluded that naturally occurring gene sequences are no longer patentable in the US. In Europe, isolated gene sequences are still patentable, under certain conditions. However, the differences between the two legal regimes are not as stark as might initially appear, and the practical effect for the diagnostics industry is complex.
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