Doctors are increasingly turning to genetic testing to track down diseases, uncover a patient’s risk and better target treatments. Every cell in our body contains our complete DNA and from a swab of saliva or a little blood, researchers can map the 20,000 or so genes that make us who we are – including the mutations that put us at risk for diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or certain cancers. While genetic advances are allowing physicians to better diagnosis and treat some diseases, sometimes genome sequencing can turn up too much information. Would you want to know you carried a gene for Alzheimer’s even though there’s currently no treatment and you may never get it? Today we look at how genetic testing and sequencing is changing medicine for patients and physicians and discuss some of the thorny ethical questions this technology raises. Our guests are IAN KRANTZ, a clinical geneticist and Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, SUSAN DOMCHEK, Executive Director of the Baser Research Center and Director of the MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and BARBARA BERNHARDT, a clinical Professor of Medicine and genetic counselor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac