Rambam Summit

The Future of Children's Health in the Genomic Era

Alan Schwartz


The effects of genomic medicine on child health promise to be profound. Medical applications will eventually include characterizing patients’ genomes to detect predictive mutations for pre-symptomatic counseling where treatment exists; to search for causes of diseases of unknown etiology, and to detect carriers for prenatal counseling; to define cancer and other disease-based genomes to design individualized therapy; and to understand our microbiomes to modify these in health and disease. Rapid advances in technology and bioinformatics has reduced the cost and the time and increased the accuracy necessary to sequence whole genomes or whole exomes. However, complete understanding of disease will also require correlation of genomic information with high-quality phenotypic data. In addition, several critical ethical, psycho-social, and public policy issues will require clarity in the coming years. Ultimately these advances will improve the effectiveness of health care for children and for society.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2011;2(3):e0053