17. June 2010 18:52
Andrew Pollack joins Nicholas Wade ( "Awaiting the Genome Payoff" in the New York Times) in questioning the wholesale focus of biological research in the promise of genetics as personalized medicine without much to show for it. He writes:
"Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced completion of the first draft of the Human Genome Project, in June 2000, its application to drug development is still, at best, a work in progress. But while many genetics scientists outside the drug industry say the project has had few medical benefits, industry researchers urge a wait-and-see patience."
It is certainly no accident that the head of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis Collins, is now the head of the NIH. Ten years ago Dr. Collins announced that in ten years the age of personalized genetic medicine would be upon us. With billions of public and private dollars continuing to be spent on research and with many reputations on the line, scientists, policy makers, and commercial industry would like to push the finish line back just a little.
The questions is- just how long are we supposed to wait before the dominant paradigm begins to crumble?