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Novel Study Uses Genomics Tools to Link Alleles With Response to Anesthesia

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 26 - The operating room and the 'anesthesiome' may be pharmacogenomics' most logical proving grounds, according to Kirk Hogan.


Hogan, an associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is conducting a novel study that uses genomics tools to locate links between alleles and a person's response to anesthesia.


"When the EKG starts looking like the Nasdaq and surgeons' boots are filling up with bodily fluid, that is when" genotyping can make a difference, he said.


For the study, whose initial results he presented here at the 2002 Genome Tri-Conference, Hogan collected DNA samples from 200 patients and tested for 14 genes and 20 alleles. Initially, he sought only to validate the technique using Third Wave's Invader technology, Hogan said. He also processed the samples via standard PCR techniques.


The results showed that although the Invader technology and the PCR equivalent expressed similar outcomes, the Invader did it in one-third the time and with greater efficiency. "You can't do this relying on conventional PCR," Hogan said.


Hogan next plans to study approximately 100 alleles in 1,200 patients to fine-tune his approach, and in one to two years hopes to begin outcome studies seeking to link the alleles with response to anesthesia.


"Anesthesia is safe because of rescue," said Hogan. "We're very good at detecting when people are slipping away and pulling them back. Life and death decisions [about drug choice and anesthesia method] hang in the balance. The more you know about genetics, the better."