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Genomic Medicine Overview

The Evolution of Genomic Medicine

Completion of the Human Genome Project and growing knowledge of gene function has led to an ever-broadening application of genomic information in clinical practice. As genomic platforms improve, so does the ability to identify the genomic fingerprints or signatures of common, complex diseases at molecular and cellular levels. Genomic medicine delivers a more complete picture of an individual patient’s disease state by combining information about what’s currently happening in the patient’s body with information from traditional, noninvasive methods. With this information, you are able to make more individualized patient care decisions.

Genetic Testing vs. Gene Expression Testing

Genetic tests evaluate DNA sequence or detect polymorphisms, which rarely change throughout a person’s lifetime and can help estimate a person’s risk of developing disease in the future. Because the likelihood of a person developing any given disease is significantly influenced by both the person’s genetic make-up (DNA) and environment (diet, exercise, stress, other lifestyle factors), genetic tests alone cannot often tell whether a person will ever develop disease. In contrast, a gene expression test provides information about a person’s current disease state because it measures the activity of specific RNAs known to change in response to disease and other conditions. This information can be used to inform on current disease status.