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Date [ 2014-06-11, 05:26 ]

A safe and fast test for stroke and heart patients.

Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Liew Lai Keen =  Scientists in Singapore have now developed a fast and cost-effective genetic test to determine the correct dosage of blood thinning drugs for the treatment of stroke, heart problems and deep vein thrombosis. Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) used gold nanoprobes on the genetic profile of the patients.
IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying said, “Diseases caused by blood clots can be potentially fatal. Genetic testing can improve the treatment of such medical conditions. By combining our expertise in molecular diagnostics and nanotechnology, we have developed a new genetic test that can determine the appropriate drug dosage to be administered for each patient.”
Blood thinning drugs or anticoagulant medication, prevent clots from forming in the blood. They are used to treat strokes, irregular heartbeats and deep vein thrombosis.
Warfarin is the most widely prescribed oral anticoagulant drug. But the dosage for each individual is highly variable, and the wrong dosage can cause an adverse reaction. Doctors currently determine the right dosage by monitoring the patients’ reactions and adjusting the dosage accordingly. This is not exactly a foolproof method.
Studies have shown that the variability in warfarin dosage is linked to genes. Knowing a patient’s genetic profile can therefore help doctors to decide the correct dosage for the patient. This minimizes side effects and improves treatment outcomes.
But current genetic tests are slow and expensive, often requiring over several days to generate results. This means that the initial dosage, which is the most important part of the treatment, may not be the optimal dosage.
Professor  Ying and her group member, Principal Research Scientist, Dr Yanbing Zu, have developed a faster and more cost-effective genetic test. By using gold nanoprobes, IBN’s test kit can recognize three of the most common genetic variations, or single-nucleotide polymorphisms, associated with warfarin response.
In this type of test, DNA is extracted from blood or the saliva of patients. After the DNA is amplified, it is then added to a pink solution of gold nanoparticles. If any of the three genetic variations is present, the solution will remain pink. But if none of the variations is present, the solution will turn colourless. The colour change takes place within 10 minutes.

IBN’s test has been validated by the National Cancer Centre Singapore, the National University Cancer Institute Singapore, and the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Taiwan.The tests can be done using standard laboratory equipment
Prof Ying added, “This nanoprobe technology is highly flexible and can be extended to detect other genetic variations. By making molecular diagnostic information more readily available, doctors will be able to provide personalized treatment that is safer and more effective.”
This finding was reported recently in the leading nanoscience and nanotechnology journal, Nano Today.
IBN’s nanoprobe technology is currently on trial at Singapore’s Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital in relation to carbamazepine, a different drug that is used for epilepsy treatment.


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