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 Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>