Iowa Institute of Human Genetics

  • Personalized Genomic Medicine

    What is personalized genomic medicine (PGM)?

    Personalized genomic medicine is a way to improve your health using your family history, medical history, genetic information, and lifestyle

    The four Ps of personalized genomic medicine are:

    • Personalized: risks are uniquely yours
    • Predictive: predicts the chances of developing certain disorders
    • Preventative: based on genetic test results and specific lifestyle behaviors, offers healthy solutions to decrease disease risk
    • Participatory: requires your involvement

    What is genetic information?

    Information about your genome (your DNA), which includes:

    • Family health history
    • Diseases and risks of health problems that run in your family
    • Family stories

    What is a genetic test?

    Genetic tests look at changes in your DNA that cause disease or put you at increased risk to develop disease.

    What is the human genome?

    • The human genome contains all of a person's genetic information
    • It is made of DNA
    • It is a series of 3 billion base pairs, the building blocks of DNA
    • Base pairs consist of letters (A, C, G, T) that are the code to make 20,000 to 30,000 genes
    • Genes are the instructions for our bodies

    What can personalized genomic medicine do for me?

    • It may help diagnose a disease you already have
    • It may help your doctor decide which medicine and how much of that medicine will work best for you (pharmacogenomics)
    • It may tell you if you are at risk to develop a disease in the future

    What kind of diseases can personalized genomic medicine tell me about?

    • Diseases that run in your family
    • Rare diseases
    • Common diseases such as diabetes, which are caused by both DNA changes and your environment

    What can personalized genomic medicine not tell me?

    • We do not fully understand all diseases at this time
    • We do not fully understand all genes or all of their changes at this time
    • It cannot tell you when you will develop disease
    • It may or may not be able to tell you how severe the disease will be

    Why haven't I heard of personalized genomic medicine until now?

    • Scientists and doctors are using recent research discoveries to improve medical care
    • Recently, new DNA tests make studying your DNA easier, faster, and cheaper than in the past
    • The new tests can give detailed information about:
      • Specific genes (targeted sequence capture)
      • All of the genes that make proteins in a person (whole exome sequencing)
      • All of the DNA in your genome (whole genome sequencing)

    The Iowa Institute of Human Genetics and personalized genomic medicine

    • The Iowa Institute of Human Genetics (IIHG) was approved by the state of Iowa Board of Regents in August 2012
    • The mission of the IIHG is to bring PGM to the state of Iowa
    • PGM tests offered by the IIHG include but are not limited to:
      • Targeted disease panels for a group of diseases
      • Pharmacogenomic testing (determines medicine dosage based on genes)
      • Whole exome sequencing (screens many genes at once)
    • Education for all Iowans on genetics and PGM

    How do I learn more about personalized genomic medicine?