Vanderbilt Medical Center’s New Blood Test: Is Gattaca a Legitimate Fear?
This article appeared in the Vanderbilt Hustler today. It’s kind of neat to see how advancements on our campus relate to the topics we talk about in class.
The article talks about a “breakthrough blood test” called Corus CAD that Vanderbilt Medical Center now has access to. The test can calculate risk of heart disease (specifically, obstructive coronary artery disease) based on a patient’s “genomic makeup” as well as age and gender. Vandy is one of the few institutions across the country (and the only one in Tennessee) to offer this new test.
Personally, I think it’s exciting to see Vanderbilt leading the way in medical progress. But the test’s ability to examine “the unique genomic makeup of individual patients” and then turn out the probability of heart disease did remind me a little of the film Gattaca. In Gattaca’s society, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is given his life expectancy at birth thanks to a prediction of heart disorder. His early sentencing as a “degeneerate” then completely determines his social status.
I don’t understand all of the implications of this new test. Is the new blood test worthy of celebration or concern? Is it a good thing to have a test this personalized, or does it open the door to a Gattaca-esque society?