Predictive Laboratories has begun to commercialize PGxPLUS+, a test developed to assess the effect of genetic factors in the way a patient responds to pain medications, for people living with endometriosis, osteoarthritis, lumbar disc disease, and other medical conditions associated with chronic pain.
According to Predictive Laboratories, statistics indicate that more than 90% of individuals worldwide carry genetic variants that affect the way their bodies react to certain medications. This means that two patients taking similar doses of the same medication may actually have up to 1,000-fold difference in the levels of the drug circulating in their blood, because their bodies process the medication differently.
The PGxPLUS+ test panel is one of the most thorough pharmacogenetic tests currently available on the market, the company said. (Pharmacogenomics is the field that studies how genetic factors may affect the safety and effectiveness of a drug.)
PGxPLUS+ is able to predict the effects of 112 genetic variants from 38 genes on the body’s ability to metabolize more than 150 medications, which also include drugs for pain management.
In the patients’ personalized test results, each type of medication (e.g., muscle relaxants, pain management), may fall into three different categories: standard precautions; use with caution; and consider alternatives. Based on these findings, physicians may then select the best course of treatment for each patient.
“The PGxPLUS+ pharmacogenetic test has been very helpful in my day-to-day practice. The results give insights into why some patients are not responding to medications as expected. With the help of these test results, I have been able to start or switch medications for patients more successfully. The PGxPLUS+ test helps me avoid prescribing medications that a patient won’t metabolize well, leading to better and more personalized patient care,” Bryt Christensen, MD, a pain specialist, said in a press release.
In addition, the company announced it has achieved a milestone of enrolling 350 patients into a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Investigational Review Board (IRB)-approved clinical trial designed to explore the mechanisms underlying chronic pain and to evaluate participants’ response to different types of pain medications.
The trial is enrolling patients with chronic pain who are taking high doses of opioids (more than 50 morphine milligram equivalents, or MMEs, per day). The main goal of the study is to analyze patients’ genetic backgrounds to look for genetic variants that may be involved in their responses to opioids, pain thresholds, and the chances of becoming addicted to opioids.
“The ability to effectively treat individuals in pain represents a significant market opportunity and of even greater importance it serves an obligation of society to alleviate the current pain and suffering of an individual in a safer and more effective manner,” said Bradley Robinson, CEO of the Predictive Technology Group.
“Our Company is both identifying the most effective ways to treat pain at a personalized level and working to understand the underlying cause of diseases like osteoarthritis, lumbar disc disease and endometriosis to treat or prevent the root cause of the pain. We are pleased to add the PGxPLUS+ test to our portfolio of regenerative medicine and diagnostic products focused on treating chronic pain diseases,” Robinson said.
Predictive Laboratories is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Predictive Technology Group, a life sciences company dedicated to the the use of data analytics for disease identification and clinical intervention through innovative gene-based therapies.
The company already has developed and licensed several prognostic DNA tests and new forms of therapy for different medical conditions associated with chronic pain. This is part of a continuing effort to minimize the use of opioids, which have been shown to be either ineffective or have severe side effects on a third of patients who take them regularly to control chronic pain.