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Consumer Genetic Test Can Predict Your Drug Response

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 12:00am
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A personal genetics startup thinks that there is one set of DNA variants that everyone should know: the ones that help determine how you respond to drugs.

Genome Liberty, a New Jersey-based startup, wants to provide a $99 test that will tell customers, based on their genetics, if they should take a nonstandard dose of a drug because their body will break it down faster or slower than most people. In some cases the test might suggest a particular drug someone should take or avoid. “The idea is to give you a card to keep in your wallet, or an iPhone app, which says which medications you shouldn’t take,” says cofounder Jeffrey Rosenfeld, a genome scientist at Rutgers University.

The company would offer these tests directly to consumers, who could then relay any relevant information to their doctors, Rosenfeld says.

Genome Liberty isn’t the first company to offer such tests. The consumer genetics company 23andMe also offers some drug response tests in its genome scan, which also includes tests for things like eye color and the genetic risk for developing serious diseases. Rosenfeld says Genome Liberty wanted a more focused test. “The idea is to provide information that is usable, that you can act on,” he says.

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