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New Test Designed to Address Variable Warfarin Dosing

Kimball Genetics, Inc., a Denver, CO-based national genetic testing laboratory specializing in DNA analysis for genetic disorders, recently launched a pharmacogenetic test for patients on warfarin, an anticoagulant drug. The Warfarin DoseAdvise(TM) Genetic Test identifies particular variations in two genes, both of which play an important part in the coagulation process. Specifically, the test detects variations in genes CYP2C9 and VKORC1 as a preliminary genetic screen that will help physicians target safe, effective warfarin dosage prior to initial treatment. Until now, treaters have been using a precarious trial-and-error approach to treatment, often modifying warfarin dosage in the early stages of therapy when the risk for serious bleeding is usually highest.

The DNA sample needed for the test can be retrieved from cells inside the cheek. The test does not require a blood sample. According to Kimball Genetics, the accuracy of the test is approximately 99.9%.

Previous studies have demonstrated the role CYP2C9 and VKORC1 play in warfarin concentration. CYP2C9 is an enzyme-producing gene that helps the body metabolize medications. Certain variations in it could indicate that a patient will metabolize warfarin more slowly, requiring a smaller dose. VKORC1 is the gene that produces vitamin K-dependent clotting factor (II, VII, IX and X), the blood-clotting protein that warfarin is designed to block. A patient with the gene variation that produces a smaller amount of the protein, could presumably receive a prescription for a lower dose of warfarin.

"We are excited to be offering the Warfarin DoseAdvise(TM) Genetic Test because of its potential to be of major clinical benefit to so many patients," said Dr. Annette K. Taylor, president and CEO of Kimball Genetics. "The test identifies patients who are at increased risk for over-anticoagulation, and with our one-day turnaround time we will be able to offer clinicians the answers they need for quickly optimizing dose prior to and during warfarin initiation."

Source: Kimball Genetics, Inc., press release dated June 5, 2007