ELsewhere – Genetic technology offers insight into diseases

(U-WIRE) DURHAM, N.C.-A physician is faced with the tough decision of whether or not to place a catheter in an elderly patient with a partially clogged artery.

The doctor takes into account his professional experience, the patient’s medical history and a limited range of physiological measures. Only time will tell whether the physician’s choice is a wise one.

Soon, however, a physician may be able to better calculate a patient’s likelihood of successful recovery and a range of other considerations even before a procedure by using pioneering technology that analyzes genetic predictors.

Later this year, Duke University researchers will begin using the new Affymetrix GeneChip High-Throughput System-which includes small gene chips containing the entire human genome-to identify and classify genetic information associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer in clinical trials of unprecedented size.

Under Affymetrix’s five-year collaboration with the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, the company will fund Duke’s researchers’ work to develop new applications for translational research projects.

Microarrays-gene chips that identify the specific gene expression in a cell -have already shown major promise as predictors of the success of various cancer therapies.

The technology allows testing to occur almost 100 times faster than with existing microtechnology procedures.

New clinical capabilities, however, not only raise hopes but also pose potential challenges for physicians.