How should governments respond to the new era of medical genomics?

Two new articles in Genome Medicine discuss US healthcare reform and the recent UK House of Lords report on genomic medicine, and examine their potential consequences for genomic research and for medical care.

Each issue of Genome Medicine features a Musings column by David G Nathan and Stuart Orkin, who tackle a variety of controversial topics and provide a unique, exciting perspective on the events and developments in genomic medicine.  In October’s Musings on the slow but inexorable process of medical care reform in the United States, the authors argue that cutting the healthcare budget in the US could have a devastating knock-on effect for the progress of medical research, not just within the US but worldwide.  Cost controls and changes in behavior will go some way towards alleviating these impending problems, but care must still be taken to protect research and teaching hospitals from any negative consequences.

In “A new strategic phase for genomic medicine in UK health services”, Hilary Burton and colleagues comment upon the UK House of Lords report on genomic medicine.  The authors suggest that medical genomics research cannot be translated into the clinic without adequate financial support for the later stages of translational research and for the testing of new biomarkers and diagnostics, which at present find it more difficult to attract funding.  Future priorities must also lie in training, education, and dissemination of knowledge and technologies to developing countries.

Genome Medicine, BioMed Central’s premier medical journal, stands at the forefront of research and clinical practice in the post-genomic era. Genome Medicine and BioMed Central will be exhibiting at the upcoming American Society of Human Genetics meeting on the 21-23 Oct in Honululu, Hawaii. Please drop in at booth #603 to meet us!

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