There are more than 20,000 genes formed by billions of combinations of four root genetic molecules (coding letters T, G, A, and C) in the human genome. Amazing new technologies sequence those letters, or molecules, and provide important details about our genetic makeup. Are we susceptible to a particular disease? Can we metabolize specific medications? Will secrets encoded in our DNA extend our lifespan? As researchers identify variations in the genetic code that make each of us different, and determine what the variations mean for health, these and other questions will be answered.
Scripps Genomic Medicine is using advanced genetic sequencing technologies to bridge the gap between discovery, translation and treatment. These studies provide an amazing opportunity to find underlying genetic causes for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and many other conditions.
To take advantage of this technology, Scripps Health formed Scripps Genomic Medicine (SGM). In collaboration with the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), SGM is building a massive database of genetic information, genotyping and storing genetic data from thousands of people. This information could help identify genes that preserve health or those that cause disease. This information will spur drug discovery and advancer personalized medicine.
Scripps Genomic Medicine conducts a variety of studies to identify genetic variations that cause disease or preserve health:
- The Idiopathic Disease of Man study, also called the IDIOM Study, is collecting genetic data from adult and pediatric patients with an idiopathic disease (serious, rare health conditions that defy a diagnosis or are unresponsive to standard treatments), as well as both patients’ biological parents. This data could lead to finding the cause of unexplained illness and unlocking life-saving answers.
- The Wellderly Study is collecting genetic data from the “healthy elderly” — people older than 80 who have no major health issues. Their DNA may teach us why they remain so vigorous.
- In collaboration with STSI, Scripps Genomic Medicine created bio-repositories of genetic information from patients suffering from cancer, migraines, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. This data could lead to new insights into disease and new treatments.
- Even the best designed drugs don’t work on everyone. Often, our DNA will tell us whether we can metabolize a specific drug. Recent work has found genetic markers which indicate whether the blood thinner Plavix will work on specific patients. The ability to personalize drug treatment may be one of the most profound benefits of genomic medicine.
For more information about current genomic medicine research at Scripps, visit the active studies page.