Doctor, doctor! It is time to get personal…

Gene-ius: A “genome” is the complete set of a person’s genes and DNA.

Is personalised medicine a good idea? Doctors say that, one day, when you are ill, they will use your genes to find the perfect treatment for you. However, not everyone is on board.

What’s happening

What happens when you get sick? Usually, you tell a doctor what is wrong. They use their training and experience to diagnose you. Then, they choose a way to treat the problem.

It has been this way for a long time — but it may soon change. Doctors are predicting a new era of “personalised medicine”.

Find out more

We are all born with different genes. These decide things like our height or eye colour.

Our genes also decide how we respond to certain medicines.

In a world with personalised medicine, doctors will use your genes to create the drugs that work best for you. You will be more likely to get better quicker and there will be fewer side-effects.

In the UK, the NHS is already using some forms of personalised medicine. Is it a good idea?

Some say…

Yes! It is a great idea. Patients will not have to go through treatments that do not work. Doctors will save time and money. It is a win-win for everyone.

Others think…

Not so fast! Personalised medicine works by looking at our genes. Doctors could find out a lot of other private information about us. We should be careful.

You Decide

  1. Should personalised medicine be available to everyone?

Activities

  1. Look at the quotation by George Church at the end of this article. He says that our genes are not our destiny. What do you think he means? Can you list anything else that might help to decide who were are and what we become?

Some People Say...

“Your genetics is not your destiny.”

George Church, American professor of genetics

What do you think?

Word Watch

Diagnose
Find the illness or disease that someone has.
Predicting
Saying that something will happen in the future.
Era
A period of time.
Genes
The things which decide what we look like and how our bodies work. We get our genes from our parents. Genes are made up of DNA.
Side-effects
Unwanted effects of drugs or medicines. For example, some medicines might make us feel tired even though they also make us better.
Patients
People who are being treated by a doctor.

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