Ireland should change its approach to genomic medicine, two Trinity College professors argue in the Irish Times.
David McConnell, a fellow emeritus in genetics, and Orla Hardiman, a professor of neurology, write that Ireland's commercial approach to implementing genomic medicine may not lead to research that benefits patients.
The duo notes that Irish researchers have contributed to, for instance, mapping the gene for retinitis pigmentosa and an international motor neuron disease consortium. But they add that rather than funding genomic projects akin to the UK's 100,000 Genomes Project, Ireland instead invested in commercial efforts like Genomics Medicine Ireland, a private company that has now been acquired by WuXi. While the firm says it wants to partner with clinicians, McConnell and Hardiman write it's not certain patients will benefit.
They instead argue for a public approach to genomic medicine in Ireland. "We urgently need a properly governed genomics program in Ireland that will ensure that Irish genomics remains within the public (non-commercial) domain, and that data obtained from Irish citizens will be used to benefit the entire Irish population," they write.