UU researchers pioneer new drug-gene testing to help alleviate healthcare waiting times
ULSTER University (UU) researchers have pioneered new drug-gene testing which could help alleviate healthcare waiting times.
The research being carried out at the Personalised Medicine Centre, between the UU's Derry campus and Altnagelvin Hospital, enables analysis of genetic code from blood samples to ensure prescribed drugs will provide benefit to patients.
The experts say it could lessen the pressure on hard-pressed health services by reducing the likelihood of ineffective or inappropriate drug treatments being prescribed, unnecessary admissions to hospital or repeat visits to GPs.
In parallel, the testing would reduce the risk of serious side effects for patients on prescription medication.
Researcher Dr David Gibson said: "Most drug development assumes that all patients with a condition will respond in a similar way to a specific drug and they will generally receive the same first line treatment.
"This can be a waste of drugs and valuable time for both the patient and those treating them, where there is a limited or no response to that medication.
"Armed with the knowledge of an individual patient's drug converting genes, doctors can prescribe the drugs and doses best suited to each person."
Neil Guckian from the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: "Sustained pressure on waiting lists and a health service stretched by the annual winter ailments have resulted in some very difficult decisions for NI's healthcare leaders and clinicians.
"With transformation called for, UU's research in this field has the capacity to make a significant difference in primary, secondary and community care settings."