Obama Seeks Funding to Take Genetic Medicine to Next Level

WASHINGTON (AP) — Holding out the promise of major medical breakthroughs, President Barack Obama on Friday called on Congress to approve spending in medical research that tailors treatment to an individual’s genes. Obama wants $215 million for what he’s calling a precision medicine initiative that moves away from one-size-fits-all treatments. The ambitious goal: Scientists will assemble databases of about a million volunteers to study their genetics — and other factors such as their environments and the microbes that live in …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The latest food fad, this one in Milwaukee: Mac and Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Weave Taco. (Learn more at Gothamist) 2. The latest quest for the fountain of youth: A DNA sequencing company called Human Longevity. (Learn more at NY Times) 3. Saturated fats (butter, bacon, beef) make your belly bigger, while other fats (fish, nuts, olive oil) help build muscle. (Learn more at AARP) 4. Stethoscopes are germier than doctors’ hands. (Learn more at NBC News) …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The mission of India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft to Mars cost a lot less than the blockbuster movie Gravity. (Learn more at NY Times) 2. Babette March, the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model in 1964, is now a 72-year-old artist and innkeeper in Halfway, Ore.  (Learn more at AARP) 3. Facebook offers 50 ways to describe your gender. (Learn more at Future Tense) 4. DNA testing might solve mysteries of Mona Lisa’s smile. (Learn more at Mail Online) 5. …

Home DNA Tests: Are They Safe?

The promise of genetic medicine is vast. In the future, cancer therapies will better target a specific tumor; couples will better understand their reproductive risks; and once the genetic components of myriad diseases are better understood, potential cures may be just around the corner. But experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and elsewhere worry that our ability to learn about our genome has outrun the medical community’s ability to usefully interpret the results. “It’s not enough to understand …

Court: Nobody Can Patent Your Genes … What Does That Mean?

SC: “A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and is not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated” Woo Hoo!!! – Francis S. Collins (@NIHDirector) June 13, 2013   That tweet came from the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis S. Collins. Why is Collins so giddy? Because the Supreme Court ruled June 13 that nobody can patent your genes. (Read full decision .pdf) Collins and others at NIH, like Eric Green, M.D., the …

How Private Is Your Genetic Code? Less So Than You May Think

Anyone who’s watched more than a few episodes of Law & Order knows how easy it is to unwittingly get a sample of someone’s DNA — a discarded coffee cup, a used Kleenex, a few stray hairs and you’re good to go. In Dick Wolf’s world, such samples are used to catch the bad guys (or exonerate the good guys), but in real life, genetic code can reveal a variety of information, including what diseases may lurk in someone’s future. This type of genetic testing — known as whole genome sequencing — has many useful applications. But a report released today by the presidential bioethics commission reveals that many legal issues surrounding genetic privacy have yet to be addressed.