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Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Jan;31(1):43-9. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1054.

'Personalized medicine' to identify genetic risks for type 2 diabetes and focus prevention: can it fulfill its promise?

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  • 1Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, New York City, NY, USA.


Public health measures are required to address the worldwide increase in type 2 diabetes. Proponents of personalized medicine predict a future in which disease treatment and, more important, prevention will be tailored to high-risk individuals rather than populations and will be based on genetic and other new biomarker tests. Accurate biomarker tests to identify people at risk for diabetes could allow more-targeted and perhaps individualized prevention efforts. DNA variants conferring higher risk for type 2 diabetes have been identified. However, these account for only a small fraction of genetic risk, which limits their practical predictive value. Nor has identification of these variants yet led to new, individualized prevention methods. Further research is needed to identify genomic and other types of biomarkers that could accurately predict risk and facilitate targeted prevention.

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