BENGALURU: Genomic medicine is called to be the future of medicine but it can only be more accessible and inexpensive if efforts are made to make the technology more localised, experts said.
Speaking at the press conference - The Future of Genomic Medicine at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2022, panellists explained the possibilities genomic medicine can create in terms of creating rare diseases, genetic disorders and playing a huge role in changing the healthcare system.
Professor Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, associate professor, Indian Institute of Science, said, in the current scenario, there is structural support provided to the startups in terms of technology. However, more support is needed from the government’s end in terms of education and research and development.
The technology advancement will only be beneficial if it will be more localised. Currently, most of the resources are imported making it unaffordable to most people. Jhunjhunwala opined that if research is done on more common diseases (affecting more people, like diabetes) it can help make it more accessible and economical as well.
Dr Vijay Chandru, panellist and commissioner at Lancet Citizen's Commission on reimagining India's health System, explained how gene therapy could help treat rare diseases like Duchenne Muscular Therapy (DMD), thalassemia, and cancer as well. Only, limitations were the high costs involved in production and manufacturing, gene therapy being labour intensive and current approved therapies not accessible to all.
Treatment of rare diseases using gene therapy can only be afforded by very few people in the society due to its expensive costs, professor Jhunjhunwala said. There are endless possibilities for genomic medicine with gene therapy, in risk assessment of diseases and understanding impacts and outcomes as well or various diseases.
Dr. Vishal Rao, U S, director, head neck surgical oncology and robotic surgery and dean, centre of academics & research, HCG Cancer Centre said the country did not lack in any prospects, for technology, infrastructure, talent and resources. Only cumulative efforts need to be taken to ensure entire technology is being ‘created’ in India.