Over the last 10 years, it has come to public knowledge that genes do not necessarily have to express themselves. Integrative doctors have brought to our patients’ attention that genes are turned on or off by our environment. Our environment includes the food we eat, the nutritional supplements we take, the thoughts we have, the exercise we do… Wow, the power of science!
What is Pharmacogenetics?
Pharmacogenetics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This relatively new field allows us to combine pharmacology and genomics to determine effective and safe medication dosages which are specific to an individual’s DNA makeup. This means minimizing side effects from the drugs! According to a recent article, at present there are over 770,000 injuries or deaths due to drug reactions per year in the United States. Pharmacogentics gives us the promise of significantly lowering this number.
In recent years, new technologies have emerged that can analyze DNA and see which biochemical pathways may be impaired, allowing labs to cross-reference this with all the drugs that require that pathway to break them down. The laboratories then uses a LIMS system or reporting solution, like Pathagility, to provide beautiful and, more importantly, comprehensible charts and reports that detail which drugs a patient is able to break down in the normal fashion. These reports also provide insights into which drugs the individual will not be able to break down in the normal fashion.
The Future of PGx
Although pharmacogenomics has the potential to radically change the way healthcare is provided, it’s really only in its infancy. In the future, pharmacogenomics could find uses along the entire drug discovery and development timeline, beginning with target discovery late-stage clinical trials, according to a recent article. Beyond that, pharmacogenomic tests could eventually be used as an integral part of a routine visit to the doctor’s office as a means to get the right medicine to the right patient at the right time.
The Technology Behind PGx
Technology is evolving to transform rapid genetic testing – especially in the advanced PGx labs. While portable devices are being engineered for robust diagnosis of disease that will improve patient experience and management, labs also see a great need for a superior, customizable laboratory reporting solution that can adapt across any type of test, device or laboratory. Often times, LIMS and reporting systems – especially those built in house – can be limiting to the types of tests they can analyze. PGx lab executives need a central laboratory reporting solution that will adapt across any type of test, device or laboratory to provide their lab, referring physicians and patients with the enhanced reporting that modern labs now require.
Today’s advanced labs need a platform that can easily integrate with their existing systems and interpret data from existing EMRs, LIMS, billing systems, lab instrumentation, and middleware systems; while affording them flexibility to report through multiple channels.
PGx Use Case
The lab’s former in-house system was only able to analyze 50 tests across toxicology and PGx. With Pathagility, the lab is now able to analyze over 95 different tests – with the ability to analyze even more as the lab continues to expand testing.
The team is now able to format reports by any number of factors, including case types. Previously providing two separate reports to referring physicians and groups, Pathagility now allows the lab to create just one easy to interpret visual report. In addition, the team can now work alongside marketing to rapidly integrate unique logos and color for each group it serves for branding purposes.
Additionally, the lab’s administrators are able to track which staff member logged in to the Pathagility platform and are now able to track the actions of uniquely identified staff members with date and time stamps. Administrators can also monitor which actions were taken to create additional accountability and control across the lab for compliance purposes.
For more information on how your lab can gain complete control, check out these recent Pathagility resources: