Key insight: A large study will test whether matching patients’ genetic variants to known drug responses before they need treatment will improve health and economic outcomes.
Dr. Richard Weinshilboum is asking a big question: What if your doctor knew which drugs to treat you with before you got sick?
The growing field of pharmacogenomics has made that possible. Patients’ genetic variants can be analyzed to determine their response to medicines used to treat everything from mental illness to cardiovascular disease.
The problem with pharmacogenomics is that that it is not a perfect predictor. Every patient represents a therapeutic trial with n=1. The best doctors know how to mix and match drugs. If you extend the case for predictive genomics then every doctor would rely on a Watson super computer for the correct drug and dosage. Even if Watson were affordable I know a few doctors that would trust one like Dave trusted HAL in “2001”.
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