Scottish Pharmacogenetics Project

SCOTTISH doctors are building a unique gene database that will match
medicines to individual patients, boosting the chances of effective
treatment while reducing side-effects.

Researchers are planning to collect genetic information on 320,000 patients from blood samples taken at GPs’ surgeries.

The team at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee will use the data to
unravel the genetic mysteries behind the varied reactions different
people have to the same medicine.

By examining the DNA of patients who suffer side-effects from a
drug, or are responsive to it, they will pinpoint the genes responsible
for the variations.

This will allow doctors to give patients a course of treatment closely tailored to their genetic make-up…

[Dr Alex Doney, a consultant vascular physician at Ninewells, and leader of the project] said: "The idea is to use genetics as an extension of a
person’s medical record, in the same way as cholesterol, blood pressure
and blood sugar levels."

Doney and his team are planning to collect genetic information from
patients in Tayside by using ‘spare blood’ left over after tests on
blood samples.

He hopes the project will act as a pilot for similar pharmacogenetic databases in Scotland.

He said: "Normally the blood left over from blood samples would be
discarded, but we want to keep it and link it with patients’ medical
records. We estimate about 80% of the 398,000 people in Tayside will
visit their doctors over the next 10 years to have a blood test."

Richard Gray, "Coming soon: drugs to match your DNA" Scotsman. April 24, 2005.

Resources:

Ninewells Hospital, Dundee

Price Waterhouse Coopers. Personalized Medicine: The Emerging Pharmacogenomics Revolution. February 2005.

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