Patients in Mayo Clinic’s RIGHT Study Carried One or More Genetic Variants That May Affect Their Response to Medication


Pharmacogenomics plays an important role in predicting whether patients will benefit from certain medications or if the medication will cause serious side effects. The process involves the way in which someone’s genes affect their reaction to therapeutic drugs.

Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine blog carried an article on its RIGHT study (Right Dose, Right Drug). The recent study also made clear that this is the Right Time to use genomic data in the planning of Individualized Treatment.

Genomic data showed that ninety-nine percent of the subjects in the RIGHT study carried one or more genetic variants (differences in DNA) that could affect their reaction to medications.

Mayo’s Pharmacogenomics Symposium

Recently, Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus was the scene of a symposium held for the benefit of pharmacists and providers. Considering that the field of pharmacogenomics is not only complex but also changing rapidly, the Mayo staff presented updated information that the health care providers can apply to their patients.

Topics Presented

Neurological Diseases: Presented by William Freeman, M.D.

Dr. Freeman, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, explained that there are several anti-seizure medications that present a risk of a rare skin disorder called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The disease generally requires hospitalization. Dr. Freeman is counting on technology to identify these patients in the future.

Dr. Freeman described the role of pharmacogenomics in testing and treating many of the 30,000 patients who have ruptured brain aneurysms. Nimmodipine, the drug currently on the market, can cause hypotension in some patients. Testing can identify patients who are at risk and follow-up with individualized dosing.

Mayo Clinic internist Lauren Cornell, M.D. on Breast Cancer

About seventy-five percent of patients with breast cancer are estrogen-receptor positive and benefit from anti-estrogen therapies. These therapies, including aromatase and tamoxifen, have proven beneficial in reducing the post-surgery recurrence of cancer.

Dr. Cornell points out that some patients with variations in a gene called CYP2D6 may be prevented from normal assimilation and do not benefit from the treatment.

The doctor explains that pharmacogenomics testing identifies patients who process the drugs either too slowly or very rapidly. This gives doctors an opportunity to decide whether an adjustment in the medication is necessary or whether they should prescribe other therapy.

Depression: presented by Eric Matey, Pharm.D., R.Ph.

Pharmacogenomics testing offers a wealth of potential value in the area of alternative therapies for depression.

Dr. Matey, a pharmacist at Mayo Clinic,  explains that there are over one million adults living in the United States who have experienced one or more major episodes of depression with fifty percent having been prescribed medication in 2016.

Only one-third of the people who take medication, the most common being selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), actually achieve relief. Many patients change antidepressants often and as a result experience side effects without relieving their depression.

According to Dr. Matey, pharmacogenomics testing enables the physicians to prescribe the correct therapy upon initial diagnosis.

Reducing the Risk of Addiction: Presented by Sanjay Bagaria, M.D.

The medical community is struggling to combat the rising number of opioid overdoses. Doctors are also striving to reduce the number of opioids that are being prescribed as well as the duration of their use after surgery.

According to Dr. Bagaria, pharmacogenomics test results given before surgery can minimize the risk of addiction by guiding the doctor’s selection of the appropriate medication for each patient.

Pharmacogenomics 101 was presented in order to introduce the many benefits of genomics in guiding treatment. Several highlights were presented in order to show the vital role pharmacogenomics is playing in various medical arenas.


Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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