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Scripps Pioneers Individualized Medicine by Offering Genetic Testing to Stent Patients
Date:10/7/2009

Individualized Therapies Now Available for Anti-Clogging Medications

San Diego, CA (Vocus) October 9, 2009 -- In what is believed to be a first for a health system in the United States, Scripps Health is now offering genetic testing as part of its care for cardiovascular patients planning to undergo elective stent procedures.

The tests will determine if patients have one or more of the common gene variants linked to an inability to metabolize the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidrogel). Plavix is the second-most commonly prescribed drug in the United States and is given to most patients after they receive coronary stents.

The genetic test results will give doctors vastly improved data that will lead to an individualized approach to each patient's treatment following a stent procedure. Stents are tiny metal tubes that cardiologists use to open clogged arteries.

Genetic testing for this population carries significant implications for patient care, as more than 1 million people undergo stent procedures in the U.S. every year. The gene variants associated with an inability to metabolize Plavix occur in more than 30 percent people of European ancestry and more than 40 percent of those of African or Asian ancestry. People with these gene variants carry double or triple the risk of death, heart attack or stroke, compared to people with the normal metabolism alleles in multiple large-scale studies.

"This represents a landmark program in individualized medicine, based on considerable new data and new choices for one of the most commonly prescribed medications and medical procedures in the world," said Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health. "This program demonstrates Scripps Health's commitment to being at the forefront of individualized cardiovascular medicine."

Scripps Health provides more cardiovascular care than any oth
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