Predictive medicine in question

Publié le : 22 May 2013

 On 30 April, the German Ethics Council published its views on genetic tests and issued a warning on the abuses to which they could lead. Christiane Woopen, Chairwoman of the Ethics Council, stated that these tests generate "an enormous quantity of results" that "can have a very different quality." Moreover, their reliability is subject to controversy. So the Council wished to alert "the potential users against over-optimistic expectations." Hence, it considers that the health authorities ought to inform the general public. To this end, "the experts wish to see the setting up of an independent information platform on the Internet" to "help people to distinguish between the offers available, particularly those from foreign companies." This platform also ought to be able to answer the questions that every person asks before applying for a test, notably: "Do I want to know which diseases I am in danger of discovering, but for which there exists no treatment?" Lastly, the experts emphasise the requirement that no third party must be able to examine the genetic data of a person without their consent. 

Predictive medicine is also the subject of much controversy in the United States concerning the genetic tests for detecting the mutation of the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, linked to the risk of breast and ovary cancer (70% risk of breast cancer with the BRCA 1 gene and 50% with the BRCA 2 gene). It was as a result of these tests that Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy to remove the risk of cancer.

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