Boston Heart test spots statin side effects

With the news that statins can help people with no history of heart disease, the launch of a new biomarker-based test to pick out those at risk of side effects becomes even more significant. Boston Heart Diagnostics licensed the exclusive U.S. rights to the test from the University of Oxford's technology commercialization company, Isis Innovation, in 2011.

The Statin Induced Myopathy (SLCO1B1) Genotype test is based on the genetic biomarker SLCO1B1, which can identify those patients at higher risk of myopathy (muscle pain and weakness).

"Lowering cholesterol with statin therapy results in a substantial reduction in heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular mortality and larger reductions in cholesterol produce larger benefits," said Professor Rory Collins of Oxford University's Clinical Trial Service Unit. "In rare cases, myopathy occurs in association with statin therapy, especially when the statins are given at higher doses and with certain other medications. Knowledge of the SLCO1B1 marker may help to achieve the benefits of statin therapy more safely and effectively."

Though myopathy is a relatively rare side effect, the effects can range from unpleasant to serious, and having access to a diagnostic would improve patient concerns and quality of life, as well as cut the costs of caring for people with the side effects. Isis Innovation is looking for partners outside the U.S.

- read the press release