Practical Precision Medicine: Striving for Better Medicine

Subha Madhavan, PhD & Kevin Maloy, MD, 6 August 2015

Practical Precision Medicine is about striving for better medicine.

But it means different things to different people.

For patients, it promises fewer “trial and error” therapies and fewer side effects, especially fatal ones.

The New England Journal reported the tragic case of a 2-year old boy with obstructive sleep apnea who underwent a routine, outpatient adenotonsillectomy. After an uncomplicated surgery, the parents were sent home with a prescription for acetaminophen with codeine. Unknown to the physicians, he had a functional duplication of the CYP2D6 allele, the enzyme that turns codeine into morphine. Practically, this resulted in a lethal dose of morphine in his blood.

If a genetic test for this were available in the right place, at the right time, could it have prevented this tragedy? More

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