Patients suffering from coronary heart disease will be the first group to be able to take advantage of this exciting new capability.. By testing a relatively small routine blood specimen, this leading-edge high-throughput technology analyzes a patient's genetic makeup for the presence of changes in the cytochrome p450 2C19 (CYP2C19) gene that are involved in the metabolism of many different drugs. Among these drugs is clopidogrel (commonly sold under the brand name Plavix®), a medication that is routinely prescribed in patients with cornonary heart disease because it inhibits the aggregation of blood platelets.
Not every patient with heart disease can metabolize clopidogrel at the same rate, however, making it a far less effective treatment for many. Patients metabolize clopidogrel differently depending on their genetic makeup. Some genetic changes lead to inappropriately low levels of clopidogrel in the blood, augmenting the risk of clotting, while others promote increased levels of the active form of the drug in the blood and a heightened risk of bleeding.
Our new test helps physicians determine with exceptional reliability how their patients will metabolize clopidogrel before it is prescibed. Patients found to be good metablozers of the drug will benefit from being prescribed a personalized optimum dosage of it. Those patients found to metabolize the drug inadequately will also benefit, as they can be prescribed more effective alternative medicines and therapies sooner than was formerly possible. For these reasons alone, UF Health Pathology Laboratories' new personalized medicine services will significantly improve the way patients are diagnosed and treated.