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Gene scan shows man's risk for heart attack, cancer

Publication Date: 
April 29, 2010
Mohammad Zargham

Professor Hank Greely, an expert in law and the biosciences, is quoted in Reuters on the complexities of the mapping the human genome for personalized medicine:

A California college professor who sequenced his own genome has had it analyzed -- and discovered he has a high risk of dropping dead of a sudden heart attack, as well as a high prostate cancer risk.

The analysis, published in the Lancet medical journal, illustrates the challenges facing doctors, patients and healthcare systems as such DNA maps become easier to get and as people seek to find out their disease risks.

As for his own findings, Stanford University bioengineering professor Stephen Quake found them "interesting."


Hank Greely, director of Stanford's Center for Law and the Biosciences, points out the huge issue facing doctors and their patients -- how much does anyone want to know?

"Patients, doctors and geneticists are about to be hit by a tsunami of genome sequence data. The experience with Steve Quake's genome shows we need to start thinking -- hard and soon -- about how we can deal with that information," Greely said in a statement.

"Who will provide skilled interpretation of whole-genome sequence to millions of patients?" Greely asked in a commentary in The Lancet.