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University of Florida Utilizes Genetic Testing to Bring Personalized Medicine on Cardiac Patients

Posted Sep 18 2012 12:40pm

The University of Florida (UF) on late June announced that genetic testing will become a significant part of the regular care protocols for heart patients at Shands at UF medical center.

In a news release published on the University of Florida (UF) Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) website,  UF doctors are tasked to take into account a patient’s genetic makeup before prescribing medications that prevent blood clot after a heart procedure.

The screening is similar to a typical blood draw, except that one sample will be sent UF Pathology Laboratories to be tested for the presence of any of seven genetic variations that influence how the body responds to clopidogrel — a common anti-clotting drug.

Results are typically available within 24 hours and are added to the patient’s electronic medical record. If the results suggest clopidogrel is not the best treatment option, the electronic medical record system will alert the cardiologist and recommend alternate drugs when a prescription is written.

Helping out in the interpretation of the tests are pathologists and clinical laboratory professionals.

“This helps us prescribe the right medication the first time and absolutely has the potential to reduce complications,” said R. David Anderson, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at UF and director of interventional cardiology and the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Shands at UF.

The new UF screening procedure aligns with the National Institutes of Health’s objective to use a patient’s genetic information to tailor their health care.

Meanwhile, the Stanford University has also adopted the UF&Shands model effective July. The two universities collaborated to develop a custom chip to collect and screen DNA samples for a total of 256 genetic variations that are suspected of influencing how the body responds to medications, including the seven relevant to clopidogrel.

The Clinical and Translational Science Awards program funded the collaboration by a grant of nearly $500,000. Additional support has been provided by a grant of more than $350,000 through the NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network.

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