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New investigation furthers personalized medicine

Personalized medicine is the science of how individuals’ unique attributes such as genetic makeup can affect their health—including their response to particular medications or treatments—marrying genomics with clinical treatment. New developments in personalized medicine may help doctors identify the most effective treatments for individual patients, leading to improve health outcomes, so IBM is taking a leadership role in this new healthcare frontier.

Partnering with Medco and researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Washington University, IBM has provided access to genetic tests to IBM employees who are newly started on the medication warfarin, a commonly prescribed anticoagulant medication to prevent blood clots. These tests have been previously shown to reduce major side effects, such as stroke and bleeding complications, by letting physicians know how sensitive a patient is to the drug—and helping them predict the right dose for the patient personally.

In addition, IBM has teamed up with Medco and researchers from Indiana University to provide access to personalized tests for tamoxifen, a drug used to prevent recurrent breast cancer. A simple genetic test has been developed that can identify those patients for whom tamoxifen is not as effective. The results will help their physicians determine if tamoxifen therapy is right for them, or whether an alternative treatment would be more beneficial.

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