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Are we ready for medical treatment based on a patient's racial and ethnic background?
Date:9/20/2010

Washington, DC -- In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the first medicine approved to treat patients of a particular race or ethnicity. The drug's name is BiDil, and it is used along with other heart medicines to treat heart failure in black patients. While BiDil opened the door to so-called race-based therapeutics, newer technologies and a clearer understanding of the underpinnings of many diseases could usher in an era of treatment based on a patient's racial and ethnic background. Still, the practice of studying, developing and prescribing therapies based on race and ethnicity is not without controversy as well as ethical concerns that could impact health care worldwide.

To explore the rationale, value and concerns of treatments based on race and ethnicity, Georgetown University is hosting a national conference to explore the state of race-based therapeutics on October 6th through the 8th, 2010. Sponsored by Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), Georgetown University Law Center and the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, the conference entitled "Navigating the Road to Personalized Medicine: Scientific, Ethical and Public Policy Issues Surrounding the Development of Race-Based Therapeutics" will be held the New Research Building on the GUMC campus in Washington, DC.

"After decades of consideration, the recognition that diagnosis and treatment of many diseases needed to be gender-specific has lead to improved health care for women," says Kathryn Sandberg, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Georgetown University Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease. "Now, in the 21st century, a new crossroads exists and it is essential to determine if there is evidence that better health would be achieved for all if race, ethnicity and gender were considered in screening, diagnosis and treatment for many diseases that puts the conference in context"

Sandberg is the conference o
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
215-514-9751
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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