During the past decade, advances in life science research have continued at a breathtaking pace, enhancing our understanding of the human genome, human genetic variation, and the role that genes play in our everyday health, response to treatment and susceptibility to disease. These advances -- coupled with faster, better and cheaper information technology -- are opening new opportunities in health care. Health care providers are using more genetic information in treating and preventing disease. Health care consumers have more direct access to genetic information than ever before to guide wellness choices. This new frontier in genomic medicine ushers in both opportunity and peril for individuals, companies and societies. Accelerating our progress toward genomic medicine or “personalized health care” will require:
- Continued advances in the life sciences
- Improvements in technology to make these advances “work” in human populations
- Thoughtful commercialization to make these advances available to affected human populations on a safe and cost-effective basis
- Knowledge and empowerment to help consumers understand the individualized risks and opportunities that lie in genomic medicine
- Enlightened public and private policies to increase the value-added intersections between the life sciences, technologies, commercialization, and the consumer.
The objective in this interdisciplinary graduate course is to explore the intersections between science, technology, commerce and social policy as they come together to advance (an in some cases retard) progress toward more-personalized health care. The course is intended for graduate students in medicine, public health, law, engineering, and business interested in the future of health care. It is designed to provide a framework to enhance the understanding of the complex scientific and socioeconomic trends, opportunities and challenges that are taking place in the rapidly evolving field of personalized medicine, molecular diagnostics, and targeted therapeutics.
A multidisciplinary faculty from the schools of medicine, law, public health, and business teaches in the course, supplemented by outside speakers and panelists. Interdisciplinary student teams are assigned to research the current “state of the art” in developing personalized medicines for a particular health condition or disease class. Team reports on these findings will be made at the end of the course to a “research colloquium” attended by faculty and students participating in the section, as well as to interested guests from the University.