Thursday, March 29, 2012

Geneticist's 'personalized medicine' study focuses on himself

Michael Snyder let colleagues sequence his DNA and track analyses of his blood to further his study of 'personalized medicine' — tailoring therapies to a patient's unique circumstances.

Self-experimentation is a venerable tradition in science.

London surgeon John Hunter deliberately gave himself gonorrhea (and inadvertently, syphilis) in 1767 — and suffered from effects of the diseases in his old age.

Jonas Salk dosed himself with his new polio vaccine in 1952 before testing it on anyone else. Down the years, scientists have inhaled poisonous gases, swallowed possible treatments for worms and detonated bombs at close range to assess the effects on their own bodies.

Now Michael Snyder has joined their ranks.

The geneticist didn't risk life and limb, but he did sacrifice his privacy — inviting colleagues to sequence his DNA and track tens of thousands of markers in his blood over a period of 14 months, when he was sick and when he was well, ultimately crunching billions of measurements on the molecular details of his body.


Related link: Maybe There is Such a Thing as Too Much Information – By Mark Sisson

Related previous posts:

Steve Jobs quote about biology and technology

Playing God (BBC Documentary)

Cost of Gene Sequencing Falls, Raising Hopes for Medical Advances

Related books:

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

The Genome War: How Craig Venter Tried to Capture the Code of Life and Save the World