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Doctors To Use Genomic Data For Determining Whether To Prescribe Statins

Update Date: Sep 30, 2014 08:44 AM EDT

Genomic data could help doctors predict whether statins will benefit a patient or not, according to a new study. The study suggested that genomic data alone can explain around 15 percent of patients' responses to a cholesterol-lowering statin. 

The study analyzed data from 372 participants in an American clinical trial for the statin, Simvastatin, and found that certain genetic signatures were more common in patients whose cholesterol was effectively lowered by the treatment, while others were associated with patients who hadn't responded so well. 

The study underscored that it was possible to predict how 15 percent of the patients would respond to statins - which could help clinicians to make a decision about whether to prescribe statins to individual patients. 

Statins are generally used to try to lower patients' levels of cholesterol. However, their effect on reducing the heart disease is often questioned upon. 

This study, by scientists from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, investigated whether there were any genetic signatures that were associated with whether a statin lowered patients' LDL-cholesterol levels. They used data from Caucasian, non-smoking participants in a clinical trial for the drug Simvastatin. Looking back at the anonymized data, they were able to see which patients responded well to the treatment and which didn't, and compare those reactions to the data about their genomic profiles and gene expression, the press release added. 

The study was published in the journal Genome Biology. 

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