Is Amgen's genomic map of Iceland the ghost of personalized med's future?
- In three papers released Wednesday in the journal Nature, Amgen arm DeCode Genetics detailed the results of extensive genomic studies that it conducted on people in Iceland.
- According to Forbes' Matt Herper, DeCode sequenced the full genomes of 2,636 Iceland residents and "used genealogical records and more spotty genetic data" to calculate the likely genetics of another 101,584 people in the country.
- The results of the genealogical analysis, conducted through an anonymous system, allowed DeCode to identify gene variants linked to increased Alzheimer's, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation risks in the Iceland population.
Amgen purchased DeCode for $415 million in 2013. And the intriguing results from the firm's genetic studies in Iceland suggest it may have been a forward-thinking investment, given the ever-increasing enthusiasm for personalized medicine in the U.S. and around the world.
For example, earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced a personalized medicine initiative aiming to entice 1 million U.S. volunteers to submit genetic data for disease research and, eventually, therapeutic development practices.
This could have significant consequences for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes and rare disorders. And now, the U.S. has a concrete example of what this type of research may look like in Iceland.