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Promise of genomics research needs a realistic view
Date:2/17/2011

ualized medicine, or pharmacogenetics for example, still require the importance of human behavior in health outcomes: the most powerful predictor of a drug's efficacy depends less on genetics than whether the patient takes the drug.

Among the reasons they cite making genomics the persistent recipient of "hyperbole" and inflated expectations, some are tied to impatience for practical applications, market forces and unbridled (but uncritical) enthusiasm. The news media also is named for "playing an obvious role in the creation of unrealistic hopes."

"These forces act together to produce a kind of "cycle of hype" that drive overly optimistic representations of the research," said co-author Timothy Caulfield.

In their short-list of recommendations for avoiding inflation of the "genomic bubble, Evans and co-authors offer the following: (1) reevaluate funding priorities to stress behavioral and social science research aimed at behavior change for improving health; (2) foster a realistic understanding "of the incremental nature of science and the need for statistical rigor," within the scientific community and that the media make more responsible claims for genomic research; (3) maintain a focus on developing high-quality evidence before integrating good ideas into medical practice.

"By highlighting the risks of continuing to promise results from genomic science, we were hoping to draw attention to a more sustainable approach to reaping the benefits from genomic science," said co-author Eric Meslin.

The authors assert their belief that the current age of genomics will provide great benefits to human health "Ours is not a call to gut existing research or too-rigidly tie funding to degree of disease burden The pursuit of our common goal improved human health demands that we take a hard look at disease causation and order our priorities accordingly."


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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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