MEXICO CITY – Genomic medicine is continuing to spread in Mexico thanks to a pioneering network of public hospitals, although greater communication is needed between doctors and researchers, the director of a medical center in Mexico City says.
Aimed at studying the patient’s genome to determine which treatment would be most effective for his or her health, this discipline is essentially preventative and at present accessible only to the wealthy.
According to the director of the “20 de Noviembre” National Medical Center, Luis Gallardo, it is essential to foster closer ties between doctors and researchers in this area considering that clinicians typically have limited knowledge of genomic medicine and investigators often do not share their discoveries.
That lack of communication is contributing to delays in the development of genomic medicine in Mexico, which has fallen behind the United States and Europe in this area.
But now four hospitals, led by Mexico City’s “20 de Noviembre” National Medical Center, are looking to give a financial boost to this field and make it accessible to more patients.
Genomic medicine involves extracting a fresh DNA sample from the patient’s blood, urine or tissue. DNA sequencing is then carried out until the necessary depth is achieved and readers can determine if a mutation is present in a patient’s genome that could put him or her at risk for a specific disease.
Knowledge of this genetic information can enable specialists to offer treatment variations that are used to combat life-threatening illnesses like cancer or chronic-degenerative diseases such as diabetes or obesity.
Gallardo said that in the future it would be possible to fully reconstruct an individual’s genome.
That would enable doctors to assess patients from the time they are children and predict which medical conditions may affect them in the future and even lead to their deaths.