Developing countries that want the benefits of cutting-edge health care possibilities based on the genetic variation of individual citizens and sub-populations need to foster the new science at home, says a Canadian study.
In a supplement to Nature Reviews Genetics, researchers from the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health (MRC), Toronto, say four countries with emerging economies—Mexico, India, Thailand, and South Africa—are showing the way for others in similar economic circumstances. The study details how those four countries are actively establishing domestic capacity in genomic medicine, efforts that will improve national health, slash medical costs through better resource allocation, and bolster their economies.
The two-year study was undertaken by Dr. Béatrice Séguin, Billie-Jo Hardy, Dr. Peter A. Singer and Prof. Abdallah S. Daar of the MRC, part of Toronto’s University Health Network and the University of Toronto.
“Benefits of this emerging science cannot be an exclusive luxury reserved for wealthier industrialized countries,” Séguin says. “Instead, it must be universally advanced by developed and developing countries alike to prevent an increased widening of already huge difference in global health care quality.”
The case studies revealed six major cross-cutting themes underlying initiatives in all four countries studied: political will, institutional leadership, the goal of producing local health benefits, protecting genomic sovereignty, and promoting economic benefits.
The authors describe what motivated the four countries to undertake these genomics initiatives, the mechanisms being used to develop genomic medicine appropriate to their circumstances, the potential for commercializing research results, and how challenges are being addressed, including ethical, legal, social and cultural issues that have either arisen or may arise.
Emerging economies and developing countries with investments in genomic initiatives will need to consider their next steps carefully. Among the paper’s proposals: ‘convergence centres’ for science, business and capital—an evolution beyond science parks and incubators—aimed at enhancing opportunities for knowledge sharing, rapid innovation, and a focus on product development and commercialization.
Release Date: September 18, 2008
Source: McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Filed Under: Genomics/Proteomics