Investing in personalized medicine will benefit Canada

Canada has the opportunity to be an international leader in personalized medicine and needs to invest in this area for the health of Canadians and to reap the benefits of job creation, writes Dr. Thomas Hudson in a commentary released online in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Personalized medicine uses therapies based on an individual's genetic and health needs, rather than a blanket approach across the population. Human genome sequencing and genetic research is fuelling knowledge in this area.

"Canadians have been involved in the first wave of translation leading to personalized medicine: discovery of genes, mutations, biomarkers and molecular pathways that are associated with diseases such as autism, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, inflammatory bowel disease, susceptibility to infection, colon cancer and drug response," writes Dr. Hudson…."More discovery research that is driven by a powerful new generation of genome technologies is needed."

Other countries like the US are making personalized medicine a priority. As Senator, Barack Obama introduced the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act in Congress to speed the introduction of personalized medicine in the United States.

"We have opportunities to become leaders in this new industry," writes Dr. Hudson. "Let's think outside the box to capitalize on Canadian strengths and provide a model that may benefit other nations."

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