New Horizons in Science

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Reading the drug-dosing instructions written in your genome

Topic: Pharmacogenomics
chromosomes in the human genome
Monday, November 4, 2013 -
11:15am to 12:00pm
Century Ballroom A

How close is medicine to a world in which your treatment for hypertension, coronary artery disease or pain is fine-tuned to your genotype? Weaving a path through the thorny issues surrounding “personalized medicine,” Julie Johnson and her colleagues are now showing that a genotype-driven approach to drug dosing can work. An example is the blood thinner warfarin, where the therapeutic daily dose can be anywhere from 1 to 20 milligrams, and patients must have frequent blood tests to prevent dangerous bleeding and strokes. People of different ancestry vary broadly in how they metabolize these drugs, and new research has identified several genetic factors that explain much of the varying dose response. International trials are looking at the practical application of the findings and beginning to examine the big payoff: using genotype to predict the long-term outcome of a given treatment for a particular individual.


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