Friday, April 24, 2015…

By Jennifer Brown

The Iowa Institute of Human Genetics (IIHG) is offering a new test that will ensure that patients who may require specific pain medications, or need blood-thinning drugs to prevent heart attack or stroke, will receive medicine that is safe and effective, based on the patient's own genetic make-up.

Variations in a person's DNA can alter the way they metabolize certain drugs. These changes in metabolism can cause drugs to be less effective than expected or even raise the risk of dangerous side effects.

The new drug metabolism test offered by IIHG will analyze patients' DNA from a blood sample and help health care providers decide whether certain opioid drugs or the blood-thinner clopidogrel (Plavix) will work based on each patient’s DNA variants.

The test was developed in collaboration with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Department of Pharmaceutical Care, UI College of Pharmacy, and Integrated DNA Technologies, and can be ordered by health care providers. It is one of several tests the IIHG and UI Hospitals and Clinics are implementing to bring precision medicine to Iowans. An expanded version of the drug metabolism test will be released in the summer of 2015.

“The pharmacogenetic tests developed and offered by the IIHG are designed to inform dosing, predict efficacy, and minimize the possibility of adverse events with therapeutic agents to optimize therapy for our patients," say Richard Smith, director of the IIHG. "We anticipate that health care providers will find these tests valuable in the care of their patients and that UI Health Care will continue to be at the forefront in offering this type of precision medicine to patients."

Precision medicine uses information about a patient's medical and family history, genetic make-up, and lifestyle to tailor treatments and improve health. Patients at UI Hospitals and Clinics have access to the benefits of precision medicine, and collaboration between researchers and physicians at the state's only academic medical center will ensure that new advances in this area will continue to be rapidly adopted.

The IIHG is a statewide resource that promotes clinical care, research, and education in human genetics, and is focused on bringing precision medicine to the state of Iowa.

For additional information, visit the IIHG website.