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2012 may not be the year that genetics is routinely used in making clinical decisions in every hospital but it promises to be a pivotal year for personalized medicine. The rapidly dropping cost of genome sequencing, now around $4000 per person and the growing availability of electronic patient data is providing a huge opportunity to improve patient outcomes and reduce the incidence of adverse drug events.

In Minnesota, US, the Mayo Clinic has begun a study to systematically sequence every patient, with a parallel study testing genetic variants associated with drug metabolism. Both studies will be used to drive the routine use of genetic data in clinical decision-making and will enable a better understanding of the impact on cost and effectiveness of care.

Major initiatives in the UK, such as the Cancer Research UKStratified Medicine Initiative, are routinely collecting patient and genetic data and the Technology Strategy Board is funding development of low cost genetic screens to be used by the NHS, as well as funding work like IDBS’ Acropolis project that will enable cloud-based collaborative research projects to be run on genetic and patient data.

We await the outcome of these projects with much excitement and, based on the growing number of requests to support clinical use of genetic data in addition to our translational research capabilities, we expect to be very busy in the next 12 months.