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Vlaanderen et al1 (see page 136) provide a timely summary of how OMICS technologies can be applied to research into the health effects of occupational and environmental exposures. The type of exciting advances being made in understanding pathogenesis at the molecular level is well illustrated by recent discoveries concerning epigenetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis.2 This accumulation of mechanistic knowledge is, in part at least, based on the technological advances of the various OMICS platforms summarised in the accompanying article.
Although Vlaanderen et al highlight the technology and structure their discussion around the different platforms, the important underlying message they provide is that knowledge of mechanisms can be translated into the clinical setting in relation to improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment and into population studies to better understand the causes of disease. The ways in which this can be achieved are numerous, albeit in the early stages of development. For example, the OMICS technologies promise to yield biomarkers to improve exposure assessment and to provide evidence supporting the biological plausibility …
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