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 Building blocks for new medications: the University of Graz is seeking a technology partner
19.03.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

nachricht Scientists find new approach that shows promise for treating cystic fibrosis
14.03.2019 | NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>