Drugs for conditions such as cancer often involve trial and error. In the past, it has been impossible to know how a certain patient will respond to a certain type of treatment. But with the development of pharmacogenomics, guesswork is taken out of the equation. Bumrungrad International Hospital is the first in Asia to offer this revolutionary new development through preventive genomics and precision medicine service.
But first, genomics
Genomics is the study of a person’s genes, or genome, and how these genes interact with each other and the environment. Genes are a basic unit of inheritance passed from parents to offspring. Humans have approximately 25,000 genes, and most of these code for proteins which are the basic building blocks of the body.
How is genomics applied to healthcare?
Genomic medicine looks at how genes affect an individual’s development and health. Genomic testing can reveal inherited diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, genetic mutations such as Down syndrome, or a genetic predisposition for diseases such as heart diseases, high cholesterol
. Knowing that they are at higher risk of developing certain diseases is useful in motivating patients to make preventive and proactive lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking, dieting and exercising. As well as earlier or more frequent tests for diseases, they might be susceptible to, in order to detect and treat them early.
Genomics at Bumrungrad
Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Preventive Genomics & Family Check-Up Services Center
is the first in Asia to offer preventive genomic service including genetic testing, using the latest technology and with results interpreted by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. The three main areas of interest are: hereditary conditions or mutations which are screened for pre-conception or during pregnancy
(utilizing non-invasive methods); predisposition to various cancers and cardiovascular diseases; and pharmacogenomic testing.
What is pharmacogenomics?
Your genome affects how your body metabolizes drugs. Pharmacogenomic testing
allows physicians to prescribe the most effective medication for each individual patient at the most effective dose, while also avoiding potential adverse reactions. This is especially important with drugs with severe side effects and unpredictable efficacy, such as chemotherapy agents or antidepressants.
Pharmacogenomics at Bumrungrad
Bumrungrad International Hospital performs next-generation sequencing for patients, with results processed both in our CAP-accredited laboratory and at partner laboratories abroad. At present, reaction to 130 of the most commonly prescribed drugs are analyzed, including those for different types of cancer, high cholesterol, heart diseases and blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's and depression. For example, this enables a multidisciplinary team of geneticists, pathologists, radiologists, cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons and pharmacists together decide on a personalized treatment plan for a patient with cancer.
The testing process is simple and quick, with only one oral swab needed, which is then sent to the lab. Results are returned within 3 weeks, and are also integrated into the Hospital Information System (HIS), so that the treating team of physicians tailor treatments and prescribe medication considering each patient’s genome, ensuring the most effective care.
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