Tag Archives: genetics

OSU Wins NIH Funds for Statin-focused PGx Study

Captured by a GenomeWeb staff reporter

Scientists at The Ohio State University Medical Center will use a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to uncover various genetic factors involved in patients’ responses to statin medications, the widely-used drugs that are used to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attack and stroke.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed medication class in the US for lowering cholesterol, but they do not benefit some patients, while others experience adverse reactions, such as headaches, sleep problems, and muscle and liver problems.

“Our primary goal is to develop pharmacogenomic patient-selection strategies for improving statin efficacy and cost-effectiveness, and for reducing the incidence of associated adverse effects,” investigator Joseph Kitzmiller, a research assistant professor of pharmacology and biomedical engineering at OSU, said in a statement.

Kitzmiller plans to use the funding to become an independent investigator focusing on using pharmacogenomics in personalized medicine applications. Specifically, he wants to develop multi-gene models for use in patient-selection strategies for improving the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of statins and to reduce the incidence of adverse effects.

Kitzmiller will partner with fellow OSUMC researchers Wolfgang Sadee, director of the Program in Pharmacogenomics, and Rebecca Jackson, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, and he will combine resources with the Pharmacogenomics Research Network and the Clinical and Translational Science Consortium.

The five-year grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences was awarded under the Translational Scholar Career Award in Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine program.

The Rise of Genetics-Based Medicine

Source: MDNews.com

This issue of MD News deals with “The Future of Health Care,” so this month, I wanted to provide my perspective on the future of health care in the area of pharmaceutical therapies.

As a compounding pharmacist, my view may be skewed, but I see medication therapies becoming focused more and more on the individual and less on generic patient populations.

Medical treatments are already personalized, as patients are assessed before a treatment is selected for them. However, it is widely known that any drug can be therapeutic for some individuals while ineffective for others, triggering adverse effects in some patients while others tolerate the same therapy without adverse side effects.

As we learn more about the genetic makeup of an individual and which genes trigger what responses, a new approach to medicine is quickly approaching that will utilize breakthroughs in technologies dealing with genetic information and patients’ responses to drug treatments.

Personalized health care will use molecular analysis and individuals’ genetic profiles to tailor drug treatments that achieve optimal medical outcomes. The association of individuals with a particular gene variant will be used in the future to prescribe the most efficient drug treatment while avoiding adverse reactions. In addition, this medical revolution based on genetic information is expected to predict disease risk, therefore allowing individuals to address these risks while they are still healthy. This will cause a shift toward a prevention-focused health care system and stimulate proactive behavior among the public.

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Mayo Clinic plans to sequence patients’ genomes to personalise care

Source: TheGuardian

Project will give doctors the genetic information they need to choose drugs that work best and minimise side effects.

Doctors have drawn up plans to sequence the full genetic code of thousands of people in a landmark project to personalise their medical care.

Volunteers will have all six billion letters of their genome read, stored and linked to their medical records to help doctors prescribe more effective drugs and other therapies.

The prestigious Mayo Clinic in the US will launch the pilot study early next year as part of an ambitious move towards an era of “proactive genomics” that puts modern genetics at the centre of patient care.

The trial reflects a growing trend in medicine to use genetic information to identify those patients who will benefit most from a drug and those who will respond better to an alternative.

Other medical centres around the world that are thinking of introducing their own whole genome tests will be watching the trial with interest.

The wealth of information locked up in the human genome can help doctors advise patients on lifestyle changes to stave off diseases they are at risk of developing, but in many cases that advice is familiar and generic – for example focusing on healthy eating, regular exercise, drinking in moderation and not smoking.

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Alzheimer’s Drug Candidate May be First to Prevent Disease Progression

Source: Newswise

A new drug candidate may be the first capable of halting the devastating mental decline of Alzheimer’s disease, based on the findings of a study published today in PLoS one.

When given to mice with Alzheimer’s, the drug, known as J147, improved memory and prevented brain damage caused by the disease. The new compound, developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, could be tested for treatment of the disease in humans in the near future.

“J147 enhances memory in both normal and Alzheimer’s mice and also protects the brain from the loss of synaptic connections,” says David Schubert, the head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, whose team developed the new drug. “No drugs on the market for Alzheimer’s have both of these properties.”

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Video Game Players Advancing Genetic Research

Source: McGill University

Thousands of video game players have helped significantly advance our understanding of the genetic basis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer over the past year. They are the users of a web-based video game developed by Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the McGill School of Computer Science and collaborator Mathieu Blanchette. Phylo is designed to allow casual game players to contribute to scientific research by arranging multiple sequences of coloured blocks that represent human DNA. By looking at the similarities and differences between these DNA sequences, scientists are able to gain new insight into a variety of genetically-based diseases.

The researchers are releasing the results computed from the solutions collected over the last year today, together with an improved version of Phylo for tablets.

Over the past year, Phylo’s 17,000 registered users have been able to simply play the game for fun or choose to help decode a particular genetic disease. “A lot of people said they enjoyed playing a game which could help to trace the origin of a specific disease like epilepsy,” said Waldispuhl. “There’s a lot of excitement in the idea of playing a game and contributing to science at the same time,” Blanchette agreed. ”It’s guilt-free playing; now you can tell yourself it’s not just wasted time.”

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$400M for Personalized Medicine

Captured by The Scientist

The National Institutes of Health promises about $400 million to help get personalized genetics into the clinic.

The National Human Genome Research Institute announced that it is sending approximately $300 million to three institutes to continue work on the 1000 Genomes Project, which aims to catalogue DNA variation in people, and the Cancer Genome Atlas,  which is investigates the genetic changes that characterize cancers, according to ScienceInsider.

An additional $100 million will go to several new projects that will help translate some of this genomic information into the clinic. For example, $20 million will go towards the development of software for processing large sets of genomic data into medically relevant information—a capability that few currently have, outside of large sequencing centers, reported Nature.  Another chunk of the funds will go towards the study of rare single-mutation heritable disease that shed light on basic human physiology.

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The Case for Personalized Medicine

Captured by Personalized Medicine Coalition

The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) released the 3rd edition of its landmark report, The Case for Personalized Medicine.  The report documents the growth of commercially available personalized medicine products from 13 in 2006 to 72 today, and examines opportunities for the continued development and adoption of personalized medicine as the cost of genetic sequencing declines, the pharmaceutical industry increases its commitment to personalized approaches to drug development and the public policy landscape evolves.

The Case for Personalized Medicine documents personalized medicine’s remarkable progress, evidenced by improved patient outcomes, shifting research models and increased industry investment. Yet it underscores the necessary steps required to align regulatory and reimbursement systems, thereby removing barriers that will increase personalized medicine innovation and speed its adoption,” said Edward Abrahams, Ph.D., President of the Personalized Medicine Coalition.

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