The world’s first gene chip has been launched for pharmacogenomics, personalized medicine that uses a person’s genetic constitution to guide drug treatment.

Switzerland’s Roche Holding, the world’s largest diagnostic company, will introduce the chip first in the US and then in Europe following expected approval by American and European regulatory authorities.

Called the AmpliChip CYP450, the product enables clinical diagnostic laboratories to identify variations in two genes that play a major role in drug metabolism.

The two genes, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19, affect the rate that people metabolize drugs used to treat such diseases as depression, high blood pressure, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and heart disease.

Roughly 10% of Caucasians and 20% of Asians are poor metabolizers of drugs, while smaller populations of people are fast metabolizers.

Both groups are at risk if given standard doses. Poor metabolizers are at risk of retaining medication for too long, while fast metabolizers are in danger of not retaining medication long enough to receive any therapeutic value.

More here.