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Genes X-ray brings 'personalized medicine' closer to reality
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Tel Aviv University

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Genes X-ray brings 'personalized medicine' closer to reality

Scientists have taken a step ahead in personalized medicine with a machine that reads the human genome and its expression.

Washington, Oct 8 : Scientists have taken a step ahead in 'personalized medicine' with a machine that reads the human genome and its expression.

The personal genetic characteristics of individuals and populations can explain why a specific prescription successfully treats one patient and not another, so medical researchers have been adopting a new approach called 'personalized medicine'.

Noam Shomron of Tel Aviv University's is developing a new method for the advancement of personalized medicine, an expanding area of research that optimises individual patient care.

With a deep sequencer, a machine that reads the human genome and its expression, Shomron is looking at how the genetic expression of small regulatory genes, called microRNAs, affects the way a patient reacts to medication.

This could mean fewer deaths from adverse drug effects and novel and safe uses for existing medications.

Shomron hopes to create a map of gene regulatory pathways - how a person's genes react to a drug - and how this affects a person's ability to metabolise different drugs.

Each person has a slightly different genetic make-up, leading to small differences in the way genes are expressed and regulated. Major players in gene regulation are microRNAs, genetic snippets that control many of our genes by binding and degrading them, including those involved in drug metabolism, explained Shomron.

This genetic "fingerprinting" has quickened interest in tailoring treatment for each person's particular needs. In their recent experiments, Shomron and his team of researchers examined how a common blood thinning medication to treat heart disease can be strongly affected with these microRNA molecules.

"One day, people will be able to have their whole genome sequenced and their gene and microRNA expression mapped, and this will become a part of their medical file.

"They will be able to bring this information with them from doctor to doctor, much like an x-ray," he said.

This will also help doctors understand how different drugs combine when a patient is taking one or more medications, which may avoid a toxic overload of chemicals.

The findings were detailed the journal Pharmacogenomics.


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