From the Hartford Courant, 2 January 2012
From the age of 14, Connecticut resident Laura suffered from depression. For 26 years, she said, she was placed on "every kind of antidepressant you can name."
None worked. If a drug had any effect at all, it was negative - headaches, weight gain, nausea. Medications then were prescribed for the side effects, some of which had their own side effects. Laura eventually went through a DNA analysis developed by Genomas, a biomedical company in Hartford, that provides information on the genes responsible for metabolizing medications.
The final straw came after she was prescribed an antipsychotic to treat her depression. When it did not work, the doctors increased the dosage and prescribed a sedative to help her sleep, which worsened matters. A few days after her test, a clinician called her.
"They told me to stop taking the medication immediately," she said. She was eventually prescribed a medication that the test indicated would be effective. She's happy with the result. "All because of a DNA test, I feel better," she said. "I don't feel anxious."
Of the 80 or so kinds of antidepressants available, only a handful was compatible with Laura's genetic makeup. Laura was immediately tapered off her medications and switched to an antidepressant that the analysis predicted would work. Within weeks, she showed significant improvement.
From Darien News, 7 July 2014
The secret as to why some medications work better than others may be buried in your genes. A company named Genomas has created a simple test that can help determine which drugs may be more efficacious for each individual patient. A patient's DNA can offer predictive information that could prove helpful when considering which medication to administer for treatment of certain diseases and ailments. The test, known as the HILOmet PhyzioType System, examines a patient's DNA and looks for specific enzyme levels. These levels are essential in the metabolism of many commonly used medications. If a patient is deficient in any one of these enzymes, the patient may not be able to breakdown a specific compound resulting in a reduction of the medications efficacy and/or could actually increase the risk for adverse reactions and side effects.
The patient simply swabs both cheeks in the inside of his mouth. The swabs are then sent to Genomas for analysis. It generally takes about two weeks for the results. There are about 250 different drugs that are analyzed to assess a functional profile. These include medications for many different indications including hypertension, diabetes, depression, acute and chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, and many more. Once a profile is generated, the physician receives the results through a Web portal. This "genetic prescription system" will designate which medications are deemed to work well for each individual patient. The results are easy to interpret; drug compounds printed in green are determined to work the best while those with mixed results are in yellow and those to avoid (due to low enzyme levels) are in red. [Michael Schwartz M.D. is board certified in internal medicine with a private practice in Darien CT. For comments or questions, visit his website at www.drmichaelbschwartz.com.]
From the Hartford Business Journal, 30 November 2009
A Connecticut psychiatrist says her patients often are leery of psychiatric medications because they automatically assume they'll suffer the side effects - weight gain, jitteriness, insomnia, etc. - they've heard or read about from the drug. Genomas' tests help her reassure them the drug will help but not hurt them.
"This is the most exciting development in psychiatry in the past 20 years: the ability to plumb genetic information for a given patient and use that information to guide the choice of appropriate treatment", she said. "I really think this is the direction we're moving in medicine."
From The New York Times, 17 June 2008
When Dr. Gualberto Ruaño, director of genetics research at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, was creating a digital "collage" to promote personalized medicine, he and his team tried blue, green, yellow and even a dull gray scale before settling on this...
Tiny rectangles ... are each a "fingerprint" showing how a person's DNA sequence varies and what makes the person unique - or not. Red signals a "genetic mosaic" of the parents, with different sequence variants from each. Black and white rectangles show that a person inherited the same sequence variant from both parents.
The type of sequence variation portrayed here accounts for most of the genetic differences among humans. Differences in the sequences could affect, for example, how likely a person is to ... suffer side effects from a cholesterol drug.
"Being biologists and doctors, red is our blood, red is our fluid," Dr. Ruaño said, adding that he sought the "staccato effect of contrast."
WHAT IS PERSONALIZED MEDICINE? The prospect of truly personalizing medicine with the knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project is exhilarating. But is it practical? Host Dr. Leslie Lundt welcomes Dr. Gualberto Ruaño to discuss how genetic testing may help predict medication side effect vulnerability. Dr. Gualberto Ruaño is a pioneer in the field of personalized medicine and the inventor of molecular diagnostic systems used worldwide for the management of diseases. He is president and founder of Genomas, his third genetics-related company and now the bio-tech anchor of Hartford Hospital’s Genetic Research Center; he also serves as director of genetics research at the Center. Listen to interviews with Dr. Ruaño at Reach MD