The Failed Promise of Gene Based Tests for Diagnosing and Treating Cancer

When the Human Genome Project released its first “draft” in 2000, many scientists believed it would revolutionize medical research. President Bill Clinton claimed that genetic diagnosis (the ability to tell who has a disease after looking at the genes) would “revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases.”Although the ability to map the human genome has great promise, a decade later it still hasn’t yielded good methods for diagnosing cancer. Even more disappointing: recent scandals and severe product flaws have cast doubt on gene-based research as a whole.

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