Wide scale DNA testing to benefit Cancer, Diabetes and Epilepsy Patients

DNA is the building block of life and contains every little detail about the organism. Understanding diseases explicitly requires in-depth understanding of DNA and how the disease specifically targets the body, which varies from person to person.

Now scientists are starting an ambitious research in which 2 million people will have their DNA analyzed so that better drugs can be formulated to combat diseases such as Diabetes, Cancer and Epilepsy.

Analyzing the DNA

Analyzing the DNA

Epilepsy patients will benefit greatly from this research as it will help create more specific drugs to treat different forms of Epilepsy. The project itself is a heavy one- estimated to cost close to £1.4billion.

The basic project overview can be summed as:

  • Project will span over 10 years
  • £1.4billion estimated cost
  • 2 million different DNAs to be mapped
  • Will include scientists from Cambridge University and Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca
  • Basic objective: To create personalized medicines to treat cause rather than symptoms

Vice President of Personalized Health Care at AstraZeneca, Ruth March, said that it was necessary to analyze the DNA of such a large test group so that specific diseases could be identified and treated as separate cases.

“We are going to be researching two million genomes, an unprecedented number,” she said. “That’s necessary because we are going to be looking for rare differences between individuals.”

She added that the research would allow them to create specific drugs to treat Epilepsy instead of releasing generalized drugs to counteract symptoms.

“We hope this will mean we will be able to create more precise drugs, rather than just treating the symptoms.”

microbiology kids

Why Analyze 2 million People?

Sampling such a large collection of DNA will yield immense data about how individuals suffering from Epilepsy behave and how their DNA is affected by the disease. From these studies, specific medicines can be conceived which affect patients differently, depending on their medical condition and DNA.

Epilepsy, for example stems from multiple causes. Identifying exact causes of different forms Epilepsy among other diseases is the primary objective of the research. This study will open doors towards personalized medicines, which are more suitable to individual symptoms rather than a general understanding of the disease.

Researching Forward

AstraZeneca itself is contributing close to 500,000 DNA samples from their clinical trials being conducted internationally and specifically in the UK.

DNA Sequencing is neither easy nor inexpensive, it requires over hundreds of pounds to map the DNA of a single human. With 2 million participants, that cost could easily reach the estimated £1.4billion and may even require more.

The research will uncover details about the origins of diseases and how they are linked with the DNA. With time, personalized medicines will help solve individual Epilepsy symptoms and pave roads towards a new future towards medicine.

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