Genomics Conference Draws Medical Experts to Rochester

Posted at: 09/30/2013 6:30 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Hundreds of medical professionals from across the country are spending the week in Rochester. It's for the Individualizing Medical Conference, hosted by the Mayo Clinic.

"People who have conditions that have been a mystery, doctors can't figure out what's going on. One of the tools you can turn to is genomics," said ABC's Dr. Richard Besser.

Genomics; it's the understanding of our DNA, and it could change the way patients are cared for across the country.

"I think the next 10 or 20 years, we're just going to see this blossom, to the point where everyone's going to know their own information about what makes them who they are. We're going to be able to tailor medical treatment in a way we've never done before," said Dr. Besser.

Basically, doctors can look at a person's genes, to help figure out how to treat them.

"Who will or will not respond to drugs and who might even have a bad reaction to drugs," said Dr. Richard Weinshilboum, a professor at the Mayo Medical School.

This genome sequencing is already being conducting locally, on a research basis. One thousand patients in Olmsted County have their genes on file in case of a future medical need.

"The doctor will receive an alert saying we already know this patient may not respond well or even have a bad reaction to the drug, would you like to  pick a different drug, lower the dose, change the drug, something like that," said Dr. Weinshilboum.

Another group of people this could help; cancer patients.

"You take two people with breast cancer. How those cancers are made up, the DNA, that drives those cancers can affect what treatments are going to be most effective," said Dr. Besser.

It's all part of the Individualizing Medicine Conference.

"This conference is highlighting how we use this information in the best way. Very exciting gathering," said Dr. Besser.

A gathering bringing health care professionals together to learn about he future of genomics, and doing it right here in the Med City.

That conference began Monday morning, and lasts until Wednesday.