Such devices are tailored to different branches of medical science as well, spawning in the process, new fields of specialization such as pharmacogenomics, metabolomics (the study of body fluids to determine changes in metabolism) and proteomics. But there is still plenty of research to be done and the task of developing efficacious medications and precision diagnostic devices continues to be extremely complex and cumbersome (Breheny, 2007).
The small successes provided by molecular genetic diagnostics augur well for the future of medical science. In the future, genomic testing devices will further add to the repertoire of already existing genetic diagnostic devices. For example, Genomic tests may help study the activity of many or all genes simultaneously, while genetic tests, a subset of genomic tests, will help identify abnormalities in a patient’s genetic code. A breast cancer microarray chip that identifies the particular genes among the group of 70 genes can be taken as the template for genomic testing device. Also, OF QF-PCR is a new procedure that is well suited to the rapid detection of aneuploidites in antenatal amaiocentesis or chorion villus samples and is already being used in some clinics. The Multiplex litigation-dependent probe amplification technique is ideally suited to dosage testing of multiexon genes (Johns, 2001).
A key area where genetic and genomic diagnostic devices might find application is in treating HIV infections. Due to the rapid evolutionary nature of these viruses, drugs are presently constantly being made obsolete. Similarly, some drugs require the digestive system to metabolize them at just the right rate–neither too soon nor too slowly –in order for it to induce desired outcomes. Genomics are already being used to tackle these two problems, as the following examples illustrate:
“The TRUGENE HIV-1 Genotyping Test, made by Visible Genetics Inc. of Toronto and cleared by the FDA in 2002, is a genetic test that allows doctors to determine from a blood sample whether a patient carries drug-resistant strains of HIV-1. If so, the patient can be given a different drug. The AmpliChip Cytochrome P450 Genotyping Test, made by Roche Molecular Diagnostics, is the first genetic lab test cleared by the FDA that uses DNA extracted from a patient’s blood to detect variations in a gene that affects how certain drugs, such as antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and some chemotherapy medications, are broken down and cleared from the body. Doctors can then adjust a drug’s dosage for an individual patient” (Johns, 2001).
These new developments in genetics and genomics are altering the way in the legal system as well. The invention of DNA identifying techniques has already made forensic analysis a more reliable enterprise. Juries, who previously depended on circumstantial evidence for arriving at their verdicts, now peruse forensic analysis for more direct proof. Genetic diagnostics has found application in cases of family law as well, including here in the UK. Since the dawn of time, men have worried whether their child is really biologically related to them, a fear that has noted in human mythologies and more recent literary works. To further fuel this fear, a recent study has indicated that one in seven men are not the biological fathers of their children. These days, using genetic technology, fathers can allay these fears through the help of a simple test; and can rest assured that they are indeed the father of their child in the basic sense of the word.