(as of Aug 22,2021 14:09:42 UTC – Details)
In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Euan Ashley, Stanford professor of medicine and genetics, brings the breakthroughs of precision medicine to vivid life through the real diagnostic journeys of his patients and the tireless efforts of his fellow doctors and scientists as they hunt to prevent, predict, and beat disease.
Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the price of genome sequencing has dropped at a staggering rate. It’s as if the price of a Ferrari went from $350,000 to a mere forty cents. Through breakthroughs made by Dr. Ashley’s team at Stanford and other dedicated groups around the world, analyzing the human genome has decreased from a heroic multibillion dollar effort to a single clinical test costing less than $1,000.
For the first time we have within our grasp the ability to predict our genetic future, to diagnose and prevent disease before it begins, and to decode what it really means to be human.
In The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Ashley details the medicine behind genome sequencing with clarity and accessibility. More than that, with passion for his subject and compassion for his patients, he introduces readers to the dynamic group of researchers and doctor detectives who hunt for answers, and to the pioneering patients who open up their lives to the medical community during their search for diagnoses and cures.
He describes how he led the team that was the first to analyze and interpret a complete human genome, how they broke genome speed records to diagnose and treat a newborn baby girl whose heart stopped five times on the first day of her life, and how they found a boy with tumors growing inside his heart and traced the cause to a missing piece of his genome.
These patients inspire Dr. Ashley and his team as they work to expand the boundaries of our medical capabilities and to envision a future where genome sequencing is available for all, where medicine can be tailored to treat specific diseases and to decode pathogens like viruses at the genomic level, and where our medical system as we know it has been completely revolutionized.
From the Publisher
You liken the work of doctors and geneticists to the work of a detective. Why is that, and what makes a doctor a good medical detective?
Euan Angus Ashley: From the earliest days of medical school, we teach our students to be detectives. Patients often present as medical mysteries. We teach these young doctors in training to observe carefully, to gather clues, to examine the scene, to probe the witnesses, and finally solve the case and arrest the culprit! Not many people know that author Arthur Conan Doyle was a physician and that his character Sherlock Holmes was inspired by a surgeon from Edinburgh. There are hundreds of parallels between doctors and detectives in the stories of Sherlock Holmes.
I talk about these parallels and those from my own medical practice in the book. I describe patients who have spent years trying to find answers, visiting doctor after doctor, in a long and arduous journey sometimes known as a medical “odyssey” after the Greek tragedy of that name. I describe the efforts of doctors all over the globe who work together to solve these mysteries.
Remarkably, the tools we mostly use — sight, sound, and smell — haven’t changed in thousands of years — until now. Today, we have a much more powerful “magnifying glass” to help us solve medical mysteries: the human genome. In fact, when we study patients with diseases that have escaped all attempts at medical science to solve them, using the genome, we are able to solve them about a third of the time. In many cases, the answer points directly to a medicine that can help.