Healthcare Business News

Use genomics to reduce health disparities: researcher

By Paul Barr
Posted: November 9, 2012 - 2:45 pm ET

Advances in genetics have not yielded expected advances in the reduction of health disparities, but those advances could still arrive if clinicians apply genetics-informed care at the individual level, without looking at race or ethnicity, argues Dr. Katrina Armstrong of the Center for Comparative Effectiveness of Genomic Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in an online article published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Developing genomically targeted therapies and employing genomic-driven drug prescribing can make valuable use of genomic information for individuals regardless of race, Armstrong wrote. And, she asserted, using genomics to target care at the individual level rather than trying to apply genomic research at the group level is more likely to reduce health disparities seen when individuals receive traditional care—care that doesn't incorporate genomics information.

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"The most effective approach for harnessing genomics to address racial disparities may come from focusing outside the race question," Armstrong wrote. "Advances in genomics offer the ability to improve clinical decision-making, particularly in settings where uncertainty is high and statistical discrimination, including the use of stereotype and bias, is likely to occur."

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