Today, anyone can spit in a cup and, for a small fee, receive information about his or her individual genetic make-up. But what then?
There is no denying that new technology, which has triggered an explosion of scientific information, is ushering in a revolution in medicine. Through intimate patient stories as well as profiles of leading-edge doctors and scientists, this clear-eyed, lively, and highly engaging book explores one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of our time: the sequencing of the human genome and the subsequent development of personalized medicine.
An Immense New Power to Heal captures the current landscape and examines the psychological, moral and ethical questions confronting physicians and the general public. What responsibility do we bear for our own health? And do we really want to know what information is coded in our genes - especially if medicine and technology offer no cure?
Praise for An Immense New Power to Heal
"The Human Genome Project, which surveyed the entire human hereditary structure, promised to usher in a revolutionary age of medicine. Armed with knowledge of their own genetic flaws, [the authors argue that] patients could make early, life-saving decisions and get more targeted treatments. But this troubling account finds that this promise hasn’t been realized because—thanks to the structure of our health-care system and the complex results genetic tests provide—most health-care providers don’t use genetic testing. The authors follow the stories of innovative patients and doctors, including Michael Saks, who wanted to know if his family history of pancreatic cancer meant the disease was his destiny; Steve Murphy, the “Gene Sherpa” who set out to be the first private practitioner of personalized medicine; and Nobel winner Leland Hartwell, who helped discover biomarkers that explained the mechanisms of cancer. Gutkind and Kennedy giddily trumpet the extraordinary possibilities of technology and information in preventing sickness."
"A marvelously readable account of the perils and promises of our genetic souls. Gutkind takes us to the tantalizing and nerve-wracking future of how our health may be enriched or devastated by the vast, individualized knowledge stored in our DNA."
~Danielle Ofri, MD PhD, author of Medicine in Translation, editor of Bellevue Literary Review