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Genetics

Worlds First Gene Chip Launched

16 years ago

1764  0
Posted on Jun 30, 2003, 11 a.m. By Bill Freeman

The concept of pharmacogenomics, or the prescription of drugs based on an individuals genes, moved one step closer this week when Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding launched the world's first "gene chip" for testing how individuals will react to drugs. Prescribing drugs has to be one a doctor's hardest jobs - a drug can work fine in some patients but can cause problems in others.

The concept of pharmacogenomics, or the prescription of drugs based on an individuals genes, moved one step closer this week when Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding launched the world's first "gene chip" for testing how individuals will react to drugs. Prescribing drugs has to be one a doctor's hardest jobs - a drug can work fine in some patients but can cause problems in others. Roughly 10% of Caucasians and 20% of Asian have genetic profiles that mean they metabolize drugs slowly, while a smaller number of people metabolize drugs far quicker than the general population. Both slow and fast metabolizers are at risk. Slow metabolizers are more likely to develop adverse side effects as the active drug is in their body for longer. Meanwhile, the problem with fast metabolizers is that they metabolise drugs so quickly that the level of active drug in the body may not be high enough to be therapeutic, for this reason fast metabolizers often need higher-than-normal doses. Thus, finding the right drug for a patient can be a time-consuming and potentially dangerous hit-and-miss affair. Roche are aiming to eliminate these problems by using their gene chip, called AmpliChip CYP450, to test for polymorphisms in two genes, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19, which play a major role in drug metabolism. The test is expected to be available in the US and Europe later in 2004, each test will cost $350 to $400.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.reutershealth.com on the 25th June 2003.

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