Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

As medicine targets personal DNA profiles, York researchers examine ethics and patient experiences

05.08.2004


Researchers at the University of York are beginning a major study into the ethical and personal issues raised by a potential revolution in healthcare, which could incorporate individualised medical care – pharmacogenetics - into clinical practice.



The use of genetic testing as a routine part of medical treatment opens exciting horizons, but brings with it the responsibility to understand the concerns individuals may have about DNA sampling, and about wider issues such as the possible impact of genetic information. Much of the science of pharmacogenetics is known, but there are many potential hurdles to overcome before the technology is introduced into routine medical use.

Over the next three years Professor Andrew Webster, Dr Graham Lewis and a team in the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU) at York will work with colleagues across the UK monitoring patients’ reactions to warfarin, commonly used to prevent blood clots. The team from York will interview some of the 2,400 patients who will be selected for the study. Of the 2,400 patients, 2000 will be hospital-based and 400 will be recruited through GP surgeries as warfarin can be prescribed by GPs.


Patients’ responses will be mapped against their personal DNA profiles and the SATSU team will interview them to see how they feel about DNA samples being taken, and how publicly acceptable this would be, and the hurdles to introducing the technique.

Warfarin is a very useful drug currently taken by 600,000 patients in the UK, but a small proportion of those who take it suffer serious side effects, even sometimes death. If a patient’s genetic makeup is known beforehand, doctors can prescribe far more accurately so that there are fewer serious side effects.

But the serious ethical issues to be considered, such as reading individual genetic codes from DNA samples, affect both patients and the clinical staff who will have to introduce the new and complex technologies. Clinical staff experiences of these processes are also examined through interviews. Dr Lewis commented; “it is important to study how attitudes and perceptions change with the introduction of new medical technologies like pharmacogenetics, and that means studying the experiences of doctors and nursing staff as well as patients.”

Dr Lewis added: “It’s been known for a long time that an individual’s genetic make-up affects the way they respond to medicines, both in terms of the likelihood of adverse side effects, and whether they respond to treatment. Pharmacogenetics, or so-called personalised medicine, offers the exciting possibility of individualised treatment.

“This could revolutionise medical care, giving doctors the ability to prescribe the best drug for their patient without trial and error. “But there are major considerations – confidentiality, the impact of the genetic information on the patient, and the implications for their families. “We need to understand how people will view this new development.

“There are also cost implications – is it worthwhile introducing pharmacogenetics? There is no real evidence yet from large-scale trials. We need to recognise that many other factors such as diet, lifestyle and age affect a patient’s response to warfarin treatment.”

The genetic profiling of patients taking part in the study will not influence their own treatment but will hopefully help future warfarin users.

The teams involved in the study will share £840,000 in research funding from the Department of Health.

Dr Graham Lewis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.york.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>