Quest Diagnostics, a provider of diagnostic information services, has launched a lab-developed genetic test to aid the delivery of personalized opioid pain-relieving treatment. It is the first clinical lab to offer testing for variants in all cytochrome P450 (CYP450) genes known to influence the CYP450 enzyme system, which affects metabolism of opioids and other medications.
The test is based in part on gene variants owned by global biotech Transgenomic, through a non-exclusive licensing agreement between the two companies. Quest Diagnostics developed, validated and now offers the test service through its Nichols Institute facility in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
More than 100 million in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain. Opioids, which include oxycodone and methadone, are widely used in the management of moderate to severe pain. While opioids are the most widely prescribed class of medications in the U.S., they are also implicated in high rates of drug addiction and overdose.
Research demonstrates that genetic testing to identify gene variants that mediate the CYP450 enzyme system can help physicians predict the rate of opioid drug metabolism. With this information, physicians can decide to adjust doses or administer other therapies in order to improve the prospect for effective pain relief and reduce the likelihood of drug toxicity, drug interactions and other adverse outcomes.
"Genetic testing to personalize the use of pain-alleviating drug therapies is a new clinical field with potential to promote favorable outcomes for the many millions of individuals struggling with pain," said Charles (Buck) Strom, M.D., Ph.D., senior medical director, genetics, Quest Diagnostics. "Opioids can be very effective pain-alleviating medications, but they are also powerful and potentially dangerous drugs carrying a high risk of addiction, toxicity and other adverse effects. The inclusion of Transgenomic's gene discoveries into our genetic testing services will provide physicians with greater insights for safely and effectively administering opioid treatment."
"The vast majority of differences in liver enzyme activity are due to genetic variation between individuals, differences that can cause a drug or metabolite to leave the body too rapidly or remain in the body too long," said Craig Tuttle, chief executive officer of Transgenomic. "Quest Diagnostics' strong record of innovation in genetic testing and relationships with physicians makes them well suited to maximize the value of our gene discoveries as new clinical tests for advancing the field of pain management."