Gene-based diabetes therapy paves way for personalised medicine for all
A therapy tailored to individuals’ genes has transformed the treatment of achronic disease, in a ground-breaking advance for personalised medicine.
Hundreds of diabetes sufferers in Britain were able to switch from insulininjections to cheaper, more effective drugs after a simple test showed thatthey had a particular genetic form of the disorder.
The test, which is available on the NHS, could benefit up to 20,000 with thecondition, many of whom are wrongly told that they have type 1 diabetes, andsave the NHS at least £30,000 over each patient’s lifetime. A second genetictest could identify another 30,000 people with a mild form of diabetes, whooften require no treatment at all.
The success of the test highlights the growing potential of pharmacogenetics –the new medical science of diagnosing diseases with reference to a person’sgenetic profile, allowing for much more effective therapy. Scientistsbelieve that within the next decade this approach will be applied to thetreatment of other chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2diabetes.