Differences in genetic composition cause some people to respond to particular medicines or treatments differently. As the field of genetics develops and technology advances, the conventional style of medicine is becoming increasingly outdated. Already, new healthcare strategies are concentrating on genetic differences, but this is just the beginning of what will one day be tailor-made, personalized healthcare, experts in the field of genetics believe.
Why do almost half of all patients with depression fail to respond to antidepressants? Trial and error selection of medications has unfortunately sometimes left lives in shambles and resulted in the death of some sufferers. Promising new research indicates that a new era of personalized treatment for depression could increase positive outcomes among more patients battling the illness.
For example, a blood test is believed to be able to predict with accuracy which antidepressants a patient will respond to and which could make matters even worse. This blood test would examine levels of blood inflammation because high levels of blood inflammation are linked to a poorer response from common antidepressants, according to Medical News Today.
“Results showed that none of the patients with levels of MIF and IL-1β above a certain threshold responded to conventional antidepressants, while with inflammation levels below this threshold did tend to respond.”
As we move away from the chemical imbalance theory, inflammation emerges as a new player in the biological model https://t.co/pvjlaiLmWa
— PrayersNApples (@PrayersNApples) June 30, 2016
Modern naturopaths have always suggested that turmeric, a highly anti-inflammatory food, might be effective at reducing depression in some people, and now it seems the field of genetic research might be providing some validation inadvertently.
Turmeric vs Prozac https://t.co/uJGgGUPA5T
— Wake Up News (@WakeUpNewss) July 6, 2016
This year, a study revealed that, among people with certain changes in MTHFR genes, complications in the processing of folic acid is contributing to symptoms of depression. Instead of (or in addition to) antidepressants, a prescription dietary supplement known as a nutraceutical can frequently relieve all symptoms of even severe depression in people with this genetic makeup, even if they have been told that they are resistant to antidepressant medications and even when other therapies have failed.
— Bulletproof (@bpnutrition) July 6, 2016
As another example of why genetic testing will change healthcare, researchers mention a mutation in the gene G551D, the gene that regulates the transportation of salt and water within the body. Four percent of patients with cystic fibrosis have a fault in the flow of salt and water from this gene mutation. Because of genomic science, scientists were able to develop the first therapy to target the underlying cause of this rare form of CF, rather than just treat the symptoms, according to the FDA.
— Cleveland Clinic MD (@CleClinicMD) July 7, 2016
Individualized, targeted therapy for ovarian cancer is also already in use. These exciting new drug therapies work to fix blocked pathways caused by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2.
— ECCO (@EuropeanCancer) September 29, 2013
The FDA said, “Pharmacogenomics (PGx), the study of variations of DNA and RNA characteristics as related to drug response, is one of the most exciting areas of personalized medicine today.” The Administration said that as drug science and genomics advance together, patients outcomes will improve dramatically.
“Patients typically have variability in response to many drugs that are currently available. It can be difficult to predict who will benefit from a medication, who will not respond at all, and who will experience adverse effects. PGx seeks to understand how differences in genes and their expression affect the body’s response to medications,” an FDA report summarized.
[Image via Pixabay]