“Genetic testing will always improve patient management in any medical specialty”

Experiencing advances in predictive medicine is one of the current healthcare challenges, and genomics plays a fundamental role in this journey. As stated in Dr. Ana PatinoDirector of the Genomics Department of the University Hospital of Navarra, “In all areas of medicine, genetic research can be performed to improve patient care.”This was highlighted at the latest CUN Health Forum organized by the hospital, in which Dr. Maite Herrais also took part.Director of the Genetic Counseling Unit at the Cancer Center of the Hospital of the University of Navarra (CCUN).

“Since 2020, we have launched genomic screening, we sequenced more than 750 patients without specific symptoms and found that 17-19% of them carried genetic variants associated with cardiac, cancer, metabolic or pharmacological health problems for which we must act quickly.“, admits Dr. Patiño.

Genomic testing offered by the University of Navarra Clinic includes genes that have prognostic value and preventive potential, meaning that when a genetic change is identified, medical action is taken to improve the clinical management of that person.. Sometimes these results are also important for establishing changes that optimize the response to ongoing pharmacological treatment. “We have moved from treating groups of diseases to treating the specific disease that the patient is suffering from in a specific personal and family context,” Dr. Patiño emphasized.

Cancer is one of the most common genetic diseases

Oncology is one of the medical specialties in which prognostic and preventive medicine is most developed, since up to 20% of cancer patients have a family history of cancer. “A person does not inherit cancer, but he does inherit the risk of developing it. Approximately 10% of all tumors have a hereditary component. Knowledge of this situation allows us to individually plan treatment and, in addition, influence prevention among family members.says Dr. Maite Herreis.

As we talked about genomic medicine, it became clear that genetic research allows us to advance the specificity to “name” a tumor, since not only are there different types of cancer, but even the same tumor each person reacts differently. Both genetic analysis and biomarkers allow for personalized treatment and faster time frames, leading to better prognoses and better treatment responses.

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