In 2005, the introduction of next-generation DNA sequencing heralded a new age in biomedical research and discovery. As devices and methods emerged that promised a dramatic increase in sequencing speed and an equally dramatic decrease in sequencing costs, doctors and researchers began to consider the implications that next-gen sequencing methods and technology would have on medical practices. What was once the stuff of science fiction novels is rapidly becoming reality.
In a recent article in the diagnostics industry magazine Advance, Life Technologies’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Billings and Life Technologies medical associate Dr. Bedir Shather take a look at the current state of next-generation DNA sequencing technology and the role they’re playing in clinical settings. In this month’s “Learning Scope” feature, Dr. Billings and Dr. Shather argue that the future of scalable and effective sequencing in clinics, medical labs and hospitals is now:
“With the need for even quicker turnaround times for the clinic, and smaller instrument sizes for the lab, the newer versions (of NGS platforms) such as the Ion Torrent’s PGM from Life Technologies…have allowed NGS to become part of the clinical diagnostic arena…The application of NGS in the clinical setting is already becoming a reality, particularly in the field of cancer molecular diagnostics, driven by the need to stratify patients based on their genomic profile.”
The authors discuss other clinical areas in which next-generation sequencing is having an impact, as well as summarize the challenges and issues faced as NGS moves towards wide-scale adoption. The entire article is available here. It’s a fascinating read, from two Life Technologies scientists who are working at the leading edge of this new frontier.