Using Genomics for Safer, Personalized Medicine Choices for Kids

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A new research study at Boston Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute, is using genetic information to predict children’s reactions to medications. The goal is to enable clinicians to select a more personalized therapy for each patient.

Personalized medicine for kids

Adverse drug reactions affect ~70,000 children annually in the United States. The study at Boston Children’s Hospital — InforMED Kids — aims to reduce that number by determining whether individual genetic differences in enzymes involved in the action or metabolic break down of a drug predict how patients will respond to the drug.

The study will use clinical-grade genetic tests at MCW on blood samples drawn from patients. MCW and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute offer one of the most comprehensive clinical testing panels for pharmacogenetics. Drug responses will be determined by health surveys and information from patients’ electronic medical records.

Researchers are currently is enrolling patients seen in the hospital’s Epilepsy, End-Stage Renal, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Cardiology programs, and may expand to the department of Psychiatry. The plan is to enroll 1,000 patients.

Researchers hope to build a database and ultimately develop prescribing guidelines that tailor drug treatments to a patients’ genetic profile.

Source: Boston Children’s Hospital

About the Author

Jenny Jessen is Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH. She is also a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.