Asian scientists push to harness genetic data

Asian researchers fighting to capture more genetic data. One of the key foundations of precision medicine is found in local genomic data. Only deep local data can make precision medicine truly valuable, and a lack of data, across Asia is one of the greatest challenges facing further expansion across the region.

Genomic cataloguing is overwhelmingly represented by data from European populations. The leading nations in precision medicine research (the U.K., U.S., China, Japan and Saudi Arabia), all have large genome collections. Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are all now ramping up initiatives to develop libraries more representative of their populations, with the goal of promoting the benefits of precision medicine to their respective governments.

Diabetes is disease common among Southeast Asians, and its known that some medications work well for some patients but not for others. It’s expected that precision medicine would make it easier to personalize and optimise treatments.

Legislation is another hot topic for proponents of precision medicine in the region, with little legal protection against those who have genetic testing.