Written by Dr. Mikolaj Raszek
Holistic medicine is a dream of doctors, if the information could be collected to provide an accurate understanding of the entire body and how its organ subcomponents interact together in both health and disease. The pursuit of such a dream is marred by the limitations of measuring such a complex system as whole body communication.
However, there are many emerging technologies that provide a broad spectrum of health information, referred to as “omics”. Many of these are capturing biological events in a particular moment in time, such as blood metabolites, state of gene expression, protein levels, and now even entire microbiotic environments. This can be ideal, as long as such dynamic information capture is truly diagnostic, but deciphering the meaning of such complex and diverse systems as they fluctuate through their regular cycles, or under influence of environmental pressure, can be very challenging.
One of the omics family members, genomics, on the other hand, yields static information, which is our DNA that we have inherited from our parents. This same information is found in every single cell of our body, and is the blueprint on how each of these cells originated, assembled to yield more complex tissues and organs, and how they continue to work in unison for the body to properly function every day. So while this genome sequence is not reflective of a given moment in time, decoding the meaning of this DNA program can yield clues as to why particular events are happening within our body.
Many of the health problems that we encounter in our lives have their roots in the information that we have inherited, and for many of these problems, some means of treatment or intervention is available. How we interact with any compounds that are introduced into our body, be it food or medications, is also in large measure prescribed in our genes. What mutations we carry that could affect the health of our children can also be decoded from our genome. Other information might not be as predictive due to its complexity, such as the genetic nature of common multifaceted diseases, be it diabetes, cancers or heart problems, but could forewarn of areas of health to be more vigilant about.
Cancer is a quintessential disease of mutated DNA. While we can inherit genetic glitches in a code that predisposes us to an increased risk of developing cancer, cancers arise due to random mutations that we accumulate in our cells throughout our lifetimes. Thus, it is a form of acquired rearranged genome. This is also where the utility of DNA sequencing comes in, as understanding what has gone wrong inside cells to make them cancerous, provides the opportunity to assemble therapy that is absolutely specific to the unique molecular DNA signature of cancer cells.
Together this is now colloquially referred to as precision medicine. But you can see how it contributes to a goal of holistic medicine.
At Merogenomics Inc. we provide access to diagnostic genomic technologies whether in health or disease. It is time that such precision medicine goes mainstream.
For more information on Genome Sequencing or referrals contact