In early 2008, I attended a 1-day conference held by the Drug Information Association (DIA) in Bethesda, MD. I was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, working on malaria vaccine and drug development at the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). One topic of the conference was the use of human genetic information to help medical professionals make drug treatment information. One of the speakers predicted that within 5 years, the cost to sequence an entire human genome would dip below $1,000.
It was at this point that the vision came to my mind. I imagined a patient going into their clinic, where the clinic not only possessed the patient’s medical history, but also his/her entire genome sequence. The patient’s medical providers would then use the genome sequence to “personalize” the patient’s medical care. I thought that as new research became available, it could immediately be applied to each patient’s known genome sequence. This would allow continuous real-time updates of each patient’s “personalized” medical record.
I don’t remember when, but sometime between then and now, I added to my vision the idea that this “personalized” practice of medicine could and should be focused on preventive (vice reactive) measures. Though the information within the genome certainly can be used in typical reactive medicine, the benefits will more completely be realized in preventive practices.
I knew at the time that it was too early to begin this type of business, but determined that I would start it up when the time was right. That time is now!