About this Research Topic
Genomic medicine (GM) is an interdisciplinary healthcare approach towards disease management, which makes use of genetic data to help inform diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention strategies. Personalised GM combines genetic knowledge, lifestyle and other environmental influences to suit each patient’s specific needs. There is a growing interest in African genomics that may provide new insights on which to base intervention strategies as practical solutions are lacking or limited in high disease burden settings. Absence of policy to guide the implementation of precision/personalised medicine has been reported as one of the main barriers to uptake of GM in these regions and led to the development of an implementation framework to guide the way forward. The scientific community is encouraging research and application of GM in Africa since the continent holds the key to understanding disease manifestation and evolution because of its diverse genetic makeup.
The African continent is in dire need for researchers to help optimise diagnosis and treatment of the most prevalent infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) where severity is affected by both environmental and genetic risk factors. Personalised GM has the potential to advance diagnostic accuracy which can guide effective treatment and improve patient outcomes. Through biomedical research, African GM will continue to widen the scope of next generation sequencing technologies and gene expression patterns to uncover previously unknown gene variants affecting the development, progression and response to treatment of different NCD subtypes. There is an urgent need to engage stakeholders that can provide ethical, legal, educational and political awareness of GM. Their impact is being increasingly recognised by investors and research institutions seeking new and better ways to integrate comprehensive research involving rare and common illnesses alike with the aim of improving treatment outcomes. This Research Topic wants to attract people whose expertise aligns with GM. This will highlight ways to support the implementation of genomic medicine in Africa and to provide positive results for science.
This Research Topic addresses but is not limited to the following subjects that are of interest to the implementation of GM in Africa:
· Why we should adopt genomics in African medicine.
· When and how is GM actionable
· Collecting new and existing GM data
· Development GM tools, including training programs
· Inventive steps envisioned/taken
· Ethics and governance in GM
· Current focus of GM development in Africa
· Funders highlighting the areas of interest for the next two decades and beyond
Original articles, opinion and review papers that provide evidence of how knowledge or tools have been applied towards translation of research into clinical practice is of particular interest.
We would like to acknowledge Lindiwe Whati, Masungulo ya Hina PTY (LTD), who has acted as coordinator and has contributed to the preparation of the proposal for this Research Topic.
Image credit: Jan-Roux Kotze
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