Pharmacogenetics testing offers way to reduce deaths from drug toxicity

April 11, 2011, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

On average, a drug on the market works effectively for only 50% of the people who take it. Would you want to prevent a potential adverse drug effect or even toxicity through a simple test? It's not science fiction, but a reality. Pharmacogenetics (PGx) is the study of an individual's variation in DNA sequence related to drug response. The goal is to select the right drug at the right dose, and to avoid adverse drug reactions or ineffective treatment.

Dr. Tara Sander, Associate Professor of Pathology, Pediatric Pathology, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Scientific Director of , Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, is first author of a poster to be presented at Experimental Biology 2011 in Washington, DC, on Monday, April 11, in an American Society for Investigative Pathology session on "Better Research Through BioOmics." She led a study that aimed to develop a PGx test for forensics. The PGx test can be used on a living or deceased person; in cases of death, the test can help identify whether the drug toxicity was due to the person's genotype and therefore provide forensic evidence that supplements medical history, scene investigation, autopsy, and toxicology for death certification. Sander and colleagues looked at specific genetic variants to see if the selected assays detected the correct genotype in the samples. The results showed that ABI TaqMan Genotyping and Copy Number Variant assays detected the correct genotype in 52 of 54 samples with 96% accuracy.

Sander's clinical test refers to the promise of Personalized Medicine, a term used frequently by former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni to define the use of information about an individual patient to select or optimize their medical care. More recently, the term Personalized Justice has been defined as using genotypic information to complement Personalized Medicine and to help explain drug-related toxicity, sensitivity, impaired performance, and behavioral changes. These two ideas complement each other and can lead to better drug therapy.

"Moving forward, pharmacogenetics testing is at the forefront of reducing and increasing drug effectiveness. Hopefully more physicians will apply this to their drug treatment plans and reduce toxic cases/deaths," said Sander. Patients would ideally be tested in advance to determine which medications would work best and at what dosage.

"There are still cases in which a person receives the wrong drug or the wrong dose. With knowledge of their genotype, this could be avoided," said Sander. Because insufficient genotype-phenotype associations still remain, research needs to be done to show a direct correlation between variation and side effect for specific drugs. Sander hopes that clinical studies will further elucidate the correlation between the and the studied phenotypic side effect.

Explore further: Frailty not a factor in adverse drug reactions among seniors, study finds

Related Stories

Frailty not a factor in adverse drug reactions among seniors, study finds

April 7, 2011
Contrary to popular belief among physicians, frailty in elderly patients is not associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions to medications, according to a study led by Michael Steinman, MD, a geriatrician at the ...

Recommended for you

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

February 23, 2018
A team of researchers with Texinov Medical Textiles in France has announced that their PHOS-ISTOS system, called the Fluxmedicare, is on track to be made commercially available later this year. The system consists of a piece ...

Low-calorie diet enhances intestinal regeneration after injury

February 22, 2018
Dramatic calorie restriction, diets reduced by 40 percent of a normal calorie total, have long been known to extend health span, the duration of disease-free aging, in animal studies, and even to extend life span in most ...

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

February 22, 2018
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, researchers at Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in China, Germany and Texas, ...

Gut microbes protect against sepsis—mouse study

February 22, 2018
Sepsis occurs when the body's response to the spread of bacteria or toxins to the bloodstream damages tissues and organs. The fight against sepsis could get a helping hand from a surprising source: gut bacteria. Researchers ...

Breakthrough could lead to better drugs to tackle diabetes and obesity

February 22, 2018
Breakthrough research at Monash University has shown how different areas of major diabetes and obesity drug targets can be 'activated', guiding future drug development and better treatment of diseases.

Fertility breakthrough: New research could extend egg health with age

February 22, 2018
Women have been told for years that if they don't have children before their mid-30s, they may not be able to. But a new study from Princeton University's Coleen Murphy has identified a drug that extends egg viability in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.