Dr. Gualberto Ruano, President of Genomas, Inc. and a principal scientific adviser to The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest has identified DNA markers for risk and protective factors involved in diabetes-related metabolic side effects from treatment with common antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia and manic depression.
The research, which was published in the January 2, 2007 online issue of Nature Publishing Groupâ€™s Molecular Psychiatry, highlights how understanding a patientâ€™s DNA can predict an individualâ€™s profile of risk or protection from the antipsychotic drugs prescribed, and paves the way for using genetic tests to personalize the treatment of mental illness. The study, entitled â€œPhysiogenomic comparison of weight profiles of olanzapine- and risperidone-treated patientsâ€, looked at two of the leading atypical antipsychotic medicines on the market and found that a series of unique DNA variations could predict a patientâ€™s likelihood for developing pre-diabetic side effects such as weight gain.
The use of antipsychotic drugs is on the rise, with an estimated 14 million patients suffering from chronic mental health disorders -- such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder -- for which these drugs are increasingly being prescribed. Atypical antispychotics (AAPs) can induce diabetic symptoms in nearly one third of patients, most notably characterized by increased weight gain in some patients but not in others. However, the side effect profiles for these drugs even within the same drug class may differ, raising the possibility of drug-specific side effects.
Dr. Ruano's research demonstrates that risk varies by individual and can be predicted and limited in ways to offer hope and reduce suffering. His research and dedication to the making medicine more predictive underscores the immense opportunity of personalized medicine as well as the human price we will pay if policymakers persist in imposing one size fits all solutions on patients and the public as a whole.
CMPI plans to conduct a study to determine the value of widespread DNA testing for AAPs in terms of the time and money saved by avoiding unnecessary, ineffective of unsafe treatments.
The battle is joined. And Dr. Ruano will be joining us at our Media and Medical Science conference in DC on Feb 21.