Applications to health care

♦ Using genetically engineered vaccines, therapeutic proteins and hormones, antibodies, etc.—essentially existing therapies with improved products.

♦ Identifying new drug targets and therapeutic strategies. These will come from research into identification of genetic factors in disease and the development of methods for relating protein sequence (deduced from the DNA sequence) to the function of the protein and its role in pathology.

♦ Developing DNA (or derivatives) as drugs i.e. gene therapy. There have been promising preliminary results with diseases such as cystic fibrosis, but there is still a long way to go before this becomes a general therapeutic method. The question of individual risk modification according to genotype and attendant issues of privacy, right to know, consequences for those with a financial stake in the individual's health, are important. Because genetic risk factors are already being identified, these are pressing issues which can only be resolved by full and informed debate between the public, lawmakers, scientists, and clinicians.

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