Genomics is being hailed as the “wave of the future” in medicine. The growing field—just two decades old—is focusing attention on how the genetic code and sequencing unique to each person’s DNA becomes distorted during the development of cancer and other major diseases. By personalizing the genetic code sequencing, oncologists believe they can use genomics to design and implement far more precise and effective medical treatment plans, saving lives and also money.

In fact, therapeutic development has already been transformed by genomics.

According to bio-geneticist Eric S. Lander, a pioneer in the field, there are 800 different anticancer drugs in clinical development today. “Cancer drugs used to be just cellular poisons, but almost all of these new ones are targeted at particular gene products that have been discovered,” he said recently.

The contribution of private philanthropies to genomics is fairly new—but mushrooming rapidly. Back in 2001, the federal government set up the Human Genome Project to create the first fully documented genetic code modeled on the DNA of a handful of individuals. It took 15 years and a $3 billion investment to achieve that result. Since then, other genomic projects like the Cancer Genome Atlas, the Human Microbiome Project, and the 1,000 Genomes Project have emerged, based largely on major grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.

Read the source article at Inside Philanthropy