How does CancerSEEK compare to other liquid biopsies?

This work[1] blows away previous efforts. The word “breakthrough” is used far too often to describe results that are incremental, or that are promising but not well-supported. CancerSEEK is a genuine breakthrough. The gold standard for cancer diagnosis is the biopsy – a bit of suspect tissue is excised and studied, and determined to be benign Read More …

Can CRISPR technology reduce inequality by eliminating the advantage that attractive people have? Shouldn’t we have that choice?

There’s a good chance that we will never be able to use CRISPR in otherwise healthy human beings. Not safely and ethically, anyway. Let’s assume that all the obvious technical problems are solved – that we learn which genes to modify and how, and that we learn how to deliver CRISPR-Cas complexes safely and efficiently to Read More …

What is the promise of gene editing?

For society as a whole, not much. One of the unexpected findings of genomics is just how little our genomes matter to disease – particularly for chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Not only are genetic contributions small compared to environmental ones, but their influence is spread out over dozens of genes. Fixing any one of Read More …

A large proportion of the population carries genetic mutations that determine the tendency to develop a disease. If all of those people asked to have their genome “repaired”, wouldn’t it lead to the collapse of free healthcare systems?

Genomics is an exciting and important science. It is radically altering our understanding of biology. But the genetic component of the most serious diseases isn’t nearly as large as you might think. Take colon cancer as an example. It kills some 50,000 Americans each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer deaths. Read More …

Can we evolve to be immune to diseases?

We can and we do evolve immunities to specific diseases. Tuberculosis is a good example. In the 17th-19th centuries it was often the largest single cause of death among Europeans, particularly in cities[1] . What’s more, it was a disease of young adults, with most victims being in their 20s and early 30s. TB exerted Read More …

Looking under the lamppost

In previous posts I’ve discussed the limitations of genomics, especially as compared to other fundamental advances in biomedicine. It’s not that I think genomics is a fraud or is bad science; to the contrary, it is providing significant insights into human biology and history every day. But genomics is just one field of science among many, and Read More …