Genetic test seen as big step to personalized meds

A few weeks ago, the FDA roiled the scientific community with its decision that patients should be tested to determine if they were genetically inclined to dangerous reactions to the commonly used blood thinner warfarin. Now the FDA has approved the genetic test that can do just that. About one in every three patients taking the drug have genetic variations that expose them to an elevated risk of dangerous bleeding. Nanosphere (which recently launched a $100 million IPO) makes the newly-approved genetic test, but regulators say that patients will still need to receive blood tests.

The advent of the warfarin test has been held out as a concrete example of the dawning age when drugs will be delivered to populations that match a careful genetic profile. That's been one of the themes here at the 13th European Congress on Biotechnology. Dr. Jonathan Knowles, the president of group research at Roche, kicked off the keynote speeches here with a review of the drive toward more personalized medicines. But several speakers here have noted that the trend to develop drugs with higher efficacy rates among smaller populations is likely to fuel drug inflation--an extremely sensitive topic in Europe, where governments have used all their influence to negotiate lower prices for their populations.

- check out this release for more

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