Rapid Genetic Testing in a Clinical Setting

For what appears to be the first time, doctors have used rapid genetic testing to immediately inform their treatment of patients. Basically, some people react poorly to a particular drug, and the genetic variant responsible for this is known. Doctors could test whether or not they had this genetic variant and administer the correct drug accordingly. The steps, as outlined in Medical Xpress:

The point-of-care genetic test used in the study is a first in medicine and overcame many of the previous obstacles that had prevented routine clinical genetic testing. The test featured:

— A saliva swab performed by clinical nurses at the bedside with no prior training in genetic laboratory techniques.
— A one-step insertion of the swab into a testing machine.
— Sixty minutes to identify whether individuals carried the at-risk genetic variant.

The Medical Xpress article goes into more detail and background, if you’re interested.

This technology sounds pretty great. How great though depends on how common this kind of situation is – how often medical care depends on genotype. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d heard of that situation, but nothing comes to mind right now. I guess we’ll find out when we’re getting swabbed. If it is common, well, saving lots of money on healthcare would be pretty fantastic – and, of course, being in better health would be nice.

If you’re curious about DNA sequencing, you should check out this Ars Technica article that I’ve linked to before; it lays out the basics of the science well enough that I won’t try to replicate it here.

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