Dr. Pourrier has studied the electrophysiological and molecular properties of voltage-gated potassium channels for 15 years. Marc is currently the VP of IonsGate – a preclinical research service focused on safety pharmacology, drug discovery and ion channel research.
Technological Breakthroughs Medical Community
As the world grows more interconnected through technological advances, the medical community is growing more aware of how prescription drugs often affect different people in different ways.
While standard drug trials assess the safety and efficacy of a candidate drug for the general population, they often fail to capture how a drug might affect people with additional medical conditions or genetic predispositions that aren’t obviously related to the drug’s main function. This leads to medications that might be less effective, dangerous, or even deadly for some patients.
Personalized Medicine is the Future of Medicine
Personalized medicine is a movement aiming to better match patients to the medications and treatments that will be safest and most effective for their unique biology. When creating personalized treatment plans, doctors leverage genetic information, existing medical conditions, and demographic data to determine how a drug is likely to affect a specific patient. Ideally, practitioners can reduce the risk of unwanted side effects while increasing the effectiveness of treatment.
In reality, matching drugs to patients can be a complicated process and technology that helps remove guesswork is critical to success, particularly in conditions like heart disease where stakes are high and medication can be lifesaving or life-ending depending on the patient.
In these situations, doctors need to know exactly how a medication will impact a patient’s heart, but this can be difficult using standard methods of drug testing like lab animals or generic cell lines. Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CM) offer an innovative solution to this problem.
hiPSC-CM Replicate Heart Health with Precision
hiPSC-CM are heart muscle cells that have been removed from a patient’s heart and grown in a lab dish. Unlike other cell lines, they can be trained to contract like a beating heart and serve as the ideal testing ground for drug candidates. Doctors can easily manipulate the genes expressed in hiPSC-MC to replicate different heart conditions. Since hiPSC-CM behave just like heart tissue, they help doctors predict if a medication will cause an irregular heartbeat or be otherwise damaging to heart tissue.
Unlike drug trials in rodents, hiPSC-CM accurately capture how a drug will interact with a unique patient’s heart cells since they express the same genetic profiles and cell physiology as the patient’s actual heart. Multiple hiPSC-CM trials can be run quickly in limited lab space without sacrificing accuracy. Doctors gain precise knowledge of how medication impacts a specific patient’s heart without risk to the patient.
The Next Generation of Personalized Medicine
Using biological tools like hiPSC-MC, doctors go beyond guessing which drugs will be best to testing drugs with certainty, all without risk to the patient. This innovative model of medication matching paves the way for highly tailored medical interventions that maximize benefits and minimize side effects.
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