Celebrating DNA

It’s hard to believe it has been 71 years since the discovery of the DNA double helix and 21 years since the completion of the human genome project. DNA Day was designated to commemorate these two milestones responsible for sparking the interest and understanding of genetics over the last many decades.

Numerous milestones have been reached in our journey toward understanding DNA since that double helix was discovered, which has led us to not only diagnose many genetic diseases, but also treat them!

DNA Discoveries: How Did We Get Here?

  •  1953 DNA double helix first discovered, a discovery credited to James Watson and Francis Crick, although they reached this milestone through critical insights from Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction images that proposed the double helix structure of DNA.
  •  1977 introduction of Sanger sequencing, a key technology used to sequence DNA.
  •  1983 launch of the Human Genome Project, laying the foundation for understanding typical human genetic variation as a building block to understanding genetic disease.
  •  1990 first gene therapy clinical trial conducted on a four-year-old girl with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare genetic disorder. The initial results were promising, but challenges and setbacks prompted the need for further research.
  •  2003 Human Genome Project completed, providing scientists with a comprehensive map of human genes and a basic understanding of their functions. The project took 13 years with an estimated cost of over $300 million.
  •  Early 2000’s clinical disease trial matching gained traction, allowing patients with certain genetic diseases to research options for therapy.
  •  2017 first FDA approval of gene therapy for an inherited disease, paving the way for development of novel treatments for many genetic disorders.
  •  2023 breakthrough year for FDA-approved gene therapies for rare genetic disorders. There were seven FDA approvals in the U.S. and one in the European Union, according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine.
  •  2024 and beyond predictions suggest approvals for gene-therapies will continue to increase exponentially.

DNA Discoveries Lead to Sweeping Improvements in Healthcare

It is remarkable to see how far we have truly come in these last 20+ years. To not only provide insights into our patients’ diagnosis, but also have the opportunity to connect them to clinical trials and available FDA approved therapy options, offers new hope for patients worldwide. No matter your background or interests, DNA Day serves as a wonderful reminder of the progress already made and the endless potential for medical advancement on the horizon. Personalized treatment options, tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup, truly hold the promise to improve the quality of life for all who need it.

Please check out our on demand webinar, Pinpointing and Activating Qualified Participants for Clinical Trials and reflect on how all of the discoveries over the past 71 years  have brought us to this point in time, when our genetics truly are informing diagnosis, treatment and management of hundreds of diseases. Happy DNA Day!