'NOVA' to Feature Advanced Genetics Research at Medical College, Children’s Hospital
The PBS science series focuses on efforts begun here to use sequencing of up to the whole genetic code of a patient to develop treatments for debilitating and life-threatening conditions that other methods cannot explain.
The world’s first clinical genetics DNA sequencing program, housed at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, will be featured in a new episode of “NOVA” produced by PBS.
The presentation airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Milwaukee Public Television (Channel 10).
The program explores how researchers, using techniques developed here, are examining patients' entire genetic codes to get at the causes of diseases that no other medical technologies can explain.
The whole-genome sequencing program was launched in late 2010 by a collaborative team of scientists and physicians at the Medical College and Children’s Hospital.
The team’s first success, in which a Monona boy had a large part of his DNA sequenced, and as a result of findings was successfully treated for his previously unknown disease, was the focus of the Pulitzer Prize-winning series, “One in a Billion,” which appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
After that case made national and international news, producers of "NOVA," public broadcasting’s long-running science series, contacted the Medical College about its new film, a documentary about DNA sequencing and its impact on health in the future.
The film, “Cracking Your Genetic Code,” profiles several families across the country who are undergoing DNA sequencing to answer questions about their medical conditions.
In the film, the team from the Medical College and Children’s Hospital sequences a Wisconsin boy with an unknown neurological disease in an effort to identify the cause of his disease and create a treatment plan.
“We’re really on the cusp of the next generation of medicine,” said Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D., director of the Human and Molecular Genetics Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“With the cost of sequencing dropping, and with the increased knowledge we have about the human genome, we’re talking about patients being sequenced as a regular part of their clinical care – and that information ultimately being included as part of a full medical history, and used to make decisions about everything from medications to preventive evaluations and treatment decisions.”
Since the clinical genetic sequencing program was launched at the Wauwatosa institutions, more than a dozen families have undergone DNA sequencing. Interested patients and families regularly inquire about the program.