A Revolutionary New Drug Tool


This could be the revolutionary tool drug companies have been waiting for


By MIT Tech Review


Mendelian randomization could help bypass large-scale clinical trials by focusing on the genetics of patients.

The backstory:

For years, medical researchers have noted the presence of markers alongside certain traits. For instance, it’s known that a high presence of HDL is tied to a lower risk of heart attacks. But what wasn’t always known was whether the HDL caused the healthy heart, or was just correlated with it.

The breakthrough:

As Gary Taubes explains for us, researchers say that by employing innate genetic differences between people—an inborn susceptibility to alcohol, say, or to higher cholesterol levels in the arteries—they can now mimic, at much less effort and expense, the kinds of large trials that would be necessary to determine if an HDL-lowering medicine is really beneficial.

Random facts:

The new technique, called Mendelian randomization, is already being used by drug companies to make billion-dollar decisions about which drugs to pursue.


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