Genomics is a field of technology that changes at an alarmingly rapid rate. It’s difficult to locate examples of other fields that have undergone change at similar rates, but comparisons could include the evolution of computer technology in the last several decades or the rapid growth of Internet startups in the 90s. Unlike these examples, the growth of genome sequencing technology is restricted to a certain technological sector, or at the least, it’s been until now.
Sequencing technology is now passing a vital point, at which the price of whole genome sequencing is really below the price of running a conventional panel of genetic tests. Although it is difficult to calculate an exact figure for this, it probably is based on the number of $1K-$10K. Illumina’s HiSeq platform or IonTorrent’s Proton both promise genomic sequencing in this range, along with Complete Genomics. As we pass this time, genome sequencing moves from the realm of research technology to viable clinical diagnostic test.
The consequences with this change may be observed in the growing widespread fascination with sequencing technology. While technologies in this area have revolutionized many areas of research in the last decade, their use in clinical settings has profound implications for this industry. Research applications can only provide a limited supply of profits. Stepping into clinical applications provides use of a much bigger level of capital, both due to the larger market and higher profit margins.
The clinical introduction of genome sequencing technology will change many facets of healthcare next few years. Genome sequencing could eventually take the area Genetika of a typical section of a patient’s healthcare record, in quite similar way as blood type and allergies to medication are utilized today. However, we have a lot of ground to cover before we get to the point. For entrepreneurs in this field, this equates to a range of exciting opportunities.
While interpretation of genomic has been an important part of research, the growing utilization of this data in clinical fields will generate a good demand for the unambiguous interpretation of results. Physicians want an unambiguous questions such as for instance disease predisposition, and they would like a reliable party to assume the responsibility for making this judgement. Recently, an increasing amount of companies have entered the region of genomic data interpretation, most of them small startups such as for instance Genformatic, a Bioinformatics company situated in Austin. Larger companies have also begun to focus on providing these services. As this industry evolves, it is probable that more companies may enter this realm, and it will soon be interesting to observe how things develop in this area.
While anyone with experience in Molecular Biology possesses the required skills to organize and run libraries, a lot of things can go wrong in this process. Even in pure research applications, sample preparation is definitely an increasingly common service given by a number of centers, along with boutique services, such as for instance Genome Organizer’s ChIP-Seq service. It’s not that researchers can’t perform these tasks, but when they’re available for a fee, they see little benefit to running these services for themselves. As genomic sequencing moves in to the clinical realm, demand for such services can be likely to increase. You will find few hospitals with the current capability to do basic sample preparation, and this represents a fresh part of opportunity in this field.
Among the greatest areas of uncertainty in this area today is how samples can get from physicians’ offices to sequencing centers, and who’ll inform patients of these results. Though medical school curricula may one day include the interpretation of genomic data, we are not even close to the period today. Currently, even the administration and interpretation of Genetic tests is generally left to individuals in the field of Genetic Counseling, in collaboration with statisticians and specialists. Although it is probable that a range of other professionals will take over the responsibility with this field later on, it is probable that in the near future, the growth can take place through this field.