Doctors in future will use genetic data to give patients “personalised” treatments, claim researchers at the institute sponsored by the genome pioneer Craig Venter.
The researchers, whose study appears in the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics journal, say genetic data will be more accurate than referring to a person’s race in order to prescribe certain drugs.
To show that using race to help predict adverse drug reactions could be misleading, the team used data from the gene sequences of the only two individuals, to date, to have had their genomes read – Venter, and James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
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The team, at the J Craig Venter Institute, in the US, examined six drug-metabolising genes in the genomes of the pair. Pauline Ng, a researcher, said: “Two Caucasian males – one wouldn’t guess they’d respond differently to drugs. But … we found that for one drug-metabolising gene, Watson’s DNA indicated he was likely to respond to drugs differently.”
The team say it could soon be possible for doctors to use the data when diagnosing and prescribing for all patients.