With the introduction of precision and personalized medicine, people need to consider if they are going to develop a disease or not.
FREMONT, CA: Leveraging genetic testing makes it possible for people to know if they will or are highly likely to develop a disease. However, in answering these questions, researchers, clinicians, and patients are faced with a complete host of ethical dilemmas. It is essential to explore some of the ethical issues of genetic testing, including those surrounding consent and confidentiality and the roles of the involved.
Genetic testing involves taking a sample of DNA extracted from people, for instance, collecting the cells present in their blood or saliva, and then analyzing it to identify any mutations. Few consumer genetic testing companies use this information to make inferences about ancestry. It can be used clinically to assess if the mutations that a person possesses have any implications for their and their relatives' health.
When used as a diagnostic tool, Genetic testing is compelling; not only can testing help confirm or rule out a diagnosis, it can also help identify some of the rarest conditions' potential genetic origins.
Predictive genetic testing can be utilized to determine someone's risk of developing a disease. While it's not possible to change someone's genetic risk, anticipating the possibility of a condition can give people a reason to reduce the influence of the environmental factors. For example, an individual may have a particular genetic predisposition to developing lung cancer, but whether or not the smoke can contribute to their overall risk. The testing results may also encourage the uptake of regular screening, so much so that a disease can be diagnosed as well as treated at an earlier stage.
The information obtained from genetic testing can aid in informing treatment. This has spun out a new field in medicine, called pharmacogenomics, and contributes to enhancements in cancer management.
Genetic testing is useful in various ways, many of which bring companies closer to personalized medicine. With the knowledge gained by analyzing a person's DNA, it's possible that this information can tailor healthcare to the individual.